Bulldogs' Perezhogin suspended indefinitely

Updated: May 1, 2004, 10:02 PM ET
Associated Press

HAMILTON, Ontario -- The AHL suspended Hamilton Bulldogs forward Alexander Perezhogin indefinitely, pending a league review, following his stick-swinging attack to the head of Cleveland Barons defenseman Garrett Stafford.

Perezhogin was assessed a match penalty for attempt to injure when he hit Stafford during a playoff game Friday night.

Stafford was forced to go to the hospital, where he was treated and released Friday night. He returned to Cleveland on Saturday morning, the Barons said.

Stafford sustained a concussion and a cut on his face, injuries that will keep him out indefinitely. Stafford was on his knees when he was struck and fell to the ice, blood gushing from a gash on his face.

Hamilton police are investigating the hit. The AHL didn't immediately announce when it will conduct its review.

Stafford was injured in the first period and Cleveland went on to a 4-1 victory that brought them 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," Barons coach Roy Sommer said.

Sommer said he hopes Perezhogin is punished to the full extent possible.

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

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.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press