Anaheim Ducks winger Bobby Ryan was suspended two games by the NHL for stomping on the skate of Nashville defenseman Jonathon Blum in Game 2 of the Western Conference quarterfinal series Friday night in Anaheim, the league announced Saturday.
"The actions by Ryan were both reckless and dangerous," NHL senior executive vice president of hockey operations Colin Campbell said. "While it was fortunate there was no injury to Blum on the play, the act of using your skate in this manner is unacceptable."
Ryan and Nashville rookie defenseman Blum were battling for the puck behind the Predators goal, and in an apparent attempt to jostle the puck loose as Blum kept it pinned against the wall with his skate, Ryan stomped on his laces and freed the puck.
No penalty was called and Blum did not appear to be injured. Ryan, who was second on the team with 34 goals during the regular season, scored his second goal of the game about two minutes later, an empty netter, to seal the victory and tie the series 1-1 heading into Game 3 on Sunday in Nashville.
"Oh, I don't agree with it. Not much to say," Ryan said. "Obviously came down right on top of his foot. I saw it 10-15 times today and watched it before the meeting. Don't see a two-game suspension, but it is what it is and it's his call. I'll be a good teammate and move forward."
Blum credited not being hurt to wearing a pair of new skates but said after practice Saturday he knew immediately that his foot had been stepped on.
"It's a pretty strong skate still. I was pretty lucky it didn't get it cut through," Blum said.
The Predators and Ducks skated Saturday on adjacent rinks at Centennial Sportsplex, with Nashville finishing up maybe 20 minutes before Anaheim because the band Sugarland had the Bridgestone Arena for a concert. Nashville coach Barry Trotz hadn't heard the NHL's decision when he spoke but clearly didn't like what Ryan did, calling the move a cardinal sin in hockey.
"The only intent is to hurt someone and that's what we're trying to get out of the game," Trotz said. "He's one heck of a player. There's no question that I'd love to have Bobby Ryan on my team, but I think you know he did wrong on that one. There's no place in the game. You talk to any player. It's dangerous, and it's a cardinal sin in the game of hockey."
Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said he was a little surprised by the number of games but that it was tough to defend since Ryan did it. He said the Ducks will live with the NHL's decision if that's the price such an action deserves. But Carlyle defended his forward.
"That's not Bobby Ryan's style. This is a first-time offense if anything, and ... I'm surprised. I didn't even see it until after the game, was surprised to see what happened during the game. There's no place for that," Carlyle said.
The suspension is the second related to a stomping incident by a Ducks player in the past three years. Former Ducks defenseman Chris Pronger was suspended for eight games in March 2008 for stomping on the leg of Vancouver forward Ryan Kesler while he lay on the ice behind the play.
Ryan will miss Games 3 and 4 of the series.
Dan Arritt covers the Ducks and Kings for ESPNLosAngeles.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.