Jones suspended for two games; Flyers 'disappointed'

Updated: October 29, 2007, 6:45 PM ET
Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA -- Another brutish blow, another opponent left dazed on the ice, another remorseful Flyer.

Philadelphia defenseman Randy Jones was suspended two games by the NHL on Monday for his violent hit on Boston's Patrice Bergeron, making him the third Philadelphia player suspended for a dangerous play this season.

"I'm disappointed," Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren said. "I think it is a situation that we see -- minus the injury to Patrice Bergeron -- I think we see quite often."

The Broad Street Bullies are back again, only this time they are paying a price for their reborn attitude. Instead of forming an identity as a group of rough-and-ready brawlers like they were in their 1970s Stanley Cup heyday, these Flyers have quickly earned a reputation as a bunch of reckless goons.

The hits may be different, but the perception of them around the league is the same.

A pair of 20-game suspensions left no impression on the organization. Making Jones sit out a pair of games likely won't leave a dent in their psyche, either.

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At least Jones' banishment is brief compared to teammates Steve Downie (20 games) and Jesse Boulerice (25 games). The difference between this suspension and the other two is that NHL disciplinarian Colin Campbell thought Jones did not try to intentionally hurt Bergeron.

"He did deliver a hard check to a player who was in a vulnerable position," Campbell said. "There have been suggestions by some that this hit was comparable to incidents earlier this season where players received significant-game suspensions for blows to the head. These comparisons and suggestions are wrong."

Tell that to Bergeron.

The 22-year-old is still out after he was hammered to the boards face-first by Jones in the first period of Philadelphia's 2-1 victory over the Bruins.

Bergeron lost consciousness, was transported from the ice on a stretcher and taken to the hospital, where team physician Dr. Bertram Zarins diagnosed him with a concussion and a broken nose. No other serious injuries were revealed by tests and Bergeron was released Sunday.

Medical personnel cut away Bergeron's jersey and shoulder pads as they worked on him, placing his neck in a brace. They put him on a board and then onto a stretcher, his legs taped together and his arms folded across his chest. There was little sign of movement and the game was delayed 15 minutes.

Bruins head coach Claude Julien called it "a dirty hit."

Jones apologized after the game and said on Monday he understood Campbell's decision.

"I think Mr. Campbell is in a tough situation on making this decision in regards to the last couple incidents involving the Flyers," he said. "I think he saw my point of view where this was not intentional. This was just a freak accident which unfortunately resulted in an injury.

"I respect his decision and I have to deal with it, move on, and get back playing after I serve the two games."

Jones will miss Thursday's game at Montreal and Friday's game at Washington. He will forfeit $5,614.98 in salary.

Boulerice was suspended 25 games earlier this month for striking Vancouver's Ryan Kesler across the face with his stick, the longest single-season ban in league history. Downie was suspended 20 games last month for leaving his feet to deliver a deliberate and dangerous hit to the head of Ottawa's Dean McAmmond.


Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press

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