Briere suspended two games for high-sticking Leetch

Updated: March 30, 2006, 11:44 PM ET
Associated Press

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Sabres co-captain Daniel Briere was suspended for two games by the NHL on Thursday, a day after striking Boston defenseman Brian Leetch with a high stick.

Brian Leetch
Leetch
Daniel Briere
Briere

The suspension will cost Briere $19,775 in pay, and he will miss Buffalo's game at New Jersey on Thursday and at Toronto on Saturday. He will be eligible to return when the Sabres complete a two-game series at Toronto on Monday.

"I was surprised to get two games for something that was solely accidental," Briere said Thursday night after the Sabres' 3-1 loss at New Jersey.

"I looked at the replay. I knew it was accidental, and I'm even more convinced now. I was expecting maybe a fine or a one-game suspension. It's their decision and I have to live with it, but I don't regret anything."

The play happened midway through the second period of Buffalo's 4-3 victory when Leetch first slashed Briere from behind. As Briere fell, his stick came up over his head and caught Leetch across the face, causing Leetch to fall awkwardly into the open doorway of the Bruins' bench.

Leetch was issued a slashing penalty while Briere was not penalized.

Leetch sustained a head injury on the play and did not return.

Bruins coach Mike Sullivan questioned the ruling after the game, saying he was unsure why Leetch was penalized instead of Briere.

Briere has 22 goals and 27 assists in 40 games to rank fourth on the team. He had three assists against the Bruins, including setting up J.P. Dumont's deciding goal in the third period, helping Buffalo snap a season-worst six-game (0-5-1) losing streak.

Briere has been the Sabres' biggest offensive threat this month, with eight goals and 18 assists in 16 games since returning to the lineup after missing two months while recovering from sports hernia surgery.


Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press