J.R. cited for throwing water bottle at ref

Updated: January 15, 2004, 5:30 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

NEW YORK -- Philadelphia Flyers forward Jeremy Roenick was suspended for one game by the NHL on Wednesday for throwing a water bottle at an official.

Jeremy Roenick

Roenick was hit in the face by an opponent's stick in the third period of the Flyers' 6-2 loss to the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday night. When no penalty was called, Roenick -- who lost a tooth and a mouthful of blood -- screamed at referee Blaine Angus, who told him he did not see the play.

Roenick then threw the bottle at Angus, getting a unsportsmanlike conduct penalty and gross misconduct penalty, which calls for immediate ejection and an automatic review by the league.

Roenick was not required to attend the Flyers' practice on Wednesday. He remained angry over the non-call.

"They [the NHL] still refuse to expose the referees," he said. "Granted, they might not get playoff games at the end of the year or their bonus money, but still, that is not enough motivation to get these guys to wake up and call the games the way they should be called."

Quoted in the Toronto Sun, Flyers general manager Bobby Clarke said he thinks the NHL should be apologizing to Roenick.

"I would have done the same thing if it had happened to me," Clarke said. "Maybe worse. Here's a case where the referee [Angus] missed a guy getting hit in the mouth with a stick. And our guy didn't go flopping around the ice. He swore at the referee. He lost a tooth and there was blood all over the ice.

"Rather than have the common sense and admit you've missed something and made a mistake, the referee gives him a minor and a misconduct. He compounds his own mistake and makes things worse. Should Roenick be suspended for doing that? For having emotion? For not diving around [like too many players would]?"

Roenick called the officiating "terrible, absolutely terrible. Blaine Angus did an absolutely terrible job."

Roenick was suspended without pay and will forfeit $91,463.41 in salary. He will miss Philadelphia's game against the East-leading Toronto Maple Leafs on Friday night.

Philadelphia is 0-4-1-1 in its last six games and has been outscored 22-8 during the stretch. The Flyers have won only three times in their last 18 games, but still have a three-point lead over New Jersey in the Atlantic Division.

"It's a tough time for the organization and us," Flyers coach Ken Hitchcock said. "Playing teams and not winning games gets frustrating at times."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.