<
>

Player bloodied by stick to face

5/1/2004

HAMILTON, Ontario -- Cleveland Barons defenseman Garrett
Stafford was taken to a hospital after being struck in the head
with a stick by Hamilton Bulldogs forward Alexander Perezhogin on
Friday night during an AHL playoff game.

Stafford was on his knees when he was struck, and he fell to the
ice, blood gushing from a gash on his face. He was attended to by a
doctor and trainers and then was taken to Hamilton General Hospital,
where he was treated and released, a spokeswoman for Hamilton
Health Sciences told the Hamilton Spectator.

The AHL suspended Perezhogin indefinitely without pay on Saturday, pending further review of the incident. There was no word Friday night whether any criminal charges will
be brought.

"I don't think this guy should ever play again in North
America," Barons coach Roy Sommer said Friday. "That's a travesty. I saw it on tape ... and
it's even worse on tape."

Stafford was injured in the first period, and Cleveland went on
to a 4-1 victory that brought it within 3-2 in the series. The
best-of-seven series resumes Sunday in Cleveland.

"I've been doing hockey my whole life, and I've never seen
anything like it," Sommer said.

Bulldogs coach Doug Jarvis said his team's thoughts are with
Stafford.

"My only thoughts right now is that Garrett Stafford is all
right," he said. "That's what we're all hoping for at this
time."

In March, Vancouver Canucks forward Todd Bertuzzi was suspended
for the rest of the NHL regular season and the playoffs for
attacking Colorado Avalanche forward Steve Moore from behind.

Vancouver police have finished their investigation in that case,
and a decision on charges is pending.