McLaren's suspension deserved, Bettman says

Saturday, April 27, 2002

NEW YORK -- Boston and Montreal have been warned by the NHL to keep their emotions under control following a vicious hit on Canadiens forward Richard Zednik by Kyle McLaren of the Bruins.

"It's not left to the individual clubs to seek justice," commissioner Gary Bettman said Friday. "That's our job, and the clubs know that."

McLaren is serving an automatic suspension for at least one game after he put Zednik in the hospital with a crushing elbow to the face Thursday night in Game 4 of the teams' playoff series.

A disciplinary hearing this weekend will determine the length of the suspension.

"He got a match penalty and he deserved it," Bettman said. "I think our record is very consistent in penalizing acts that go over the line swiftly, appropriately and harshly, and that's what we'll do there."

After the game, Canadiens coach Michel Therrien talked of retaliation against the Bruins during today's game.

"Sometimes in the heat of the moment, people say things that they regret and shouldn't say," Bettman said in an interview with a group of Associated Press sports editors. "We've been in touch with both clubs, and they understand our view that the temperature should be taken down a few notches, and our expectation is that it will.

"I can understand seeing your player like that why the coach would be upset, but that doesn't mean that any on-ice threat coming to reality would be appropriate. It would be to the contrary, and the clubs understand that."

McLaren has said he did nothing wrong, and on Friday said he regretted the incident happened.

"I'm not out there to hurt anybody," McLaren said. "I wish him the best."

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