QUEBEC – Montreal Canadiens star winger Michael Cammalleri may be in hot water after he was ejected from a game for a nasty slash to New York islanders prospect Nino Niederreiter.
Cammalleri was handed a slashing major and a game misconduct at 16:52 of the second period at the Pepsi Colisee and may face further discipline.
The two players bumped in the neutral zone and Cammalleri had his stick high as he shoved the 18-year-old. The two bumped again and then Cammalleri gave him a hard slash on the left skate.
Niederreiter, the fifth overall pick in the NHL draft in June, went down and later limped off the ice and did not return. After the game, he had an ice back on a bruise on the back of his left knee. He said he hoped the injury was serious.
“It’s pre-season, there should never be a cheap shot like that,” said Niederreiter. “He came from behind. I didn’t expect it at all.”
“It was a gutless play by Cammalleri,” said Dean Chynoweth, who acted as head coach while Scott Gordon handled another Isles split-squad back home. “To stick someone in the face and two-hand him like that—be a man. Drop the stick. Drop the gloves.”
Cammaleri was not made available to the media after the game.
His linemate Tomas Plekanec said Niederreiter had been cross-checking Canadiens all game and “I guess it happened to many times.
“I got a couple of those cross-checks too. This guy was kind of running around doing this stuff. Hopefully they’ll look at that, too.”
Coach Jacques Martin said Cammalleri was blindsided before the incident “and that’s what started it.
“But I don’t think it was bad as it looked.”
It was the second incident involving rookies for Montreal. Last week, the Florida Panthers vowed revenge for what they felt was a sucker punch by Canadiens winger Travis Moen on third-overall pick Erik Gudbranson.