Niedermayer in stick incident

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The Independent Online

The National Hockey League will hold a hearing today to consider disciplinary action against New Jersey Devils defenseman Scott Niedermayer for hitting Peter Worrell of the Florida Panthers over the helmet with his stick.

Niedermayer said on Monday that he should be suspended for the strike which came with 1:45 remaining in the Devils' 5-2 win over the Panthers on Sunday night.

A melee ensued and Worrell, who did not appear to be hurt, created more controversy. Leaving the ice, he made a throat-slashing gesture toward the Devils bench.

While the action is banned in the National Football League, hockey has not banned it.

The Niedermayer hit comes less than a month after Marty McSorley of the Boston Bruins was suspended for the season for swatting Donald Brashear of the Vancouver Canucks across the side of his head with a two-handed swing of his stick. The attack sidelined Brashear for the season with a serious concussion.

Niedermayer, who has never been suspended in eight seasons, received a match penalty for attempting to injure.

Florida assistant coach Bill Smith told the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel that Niedermayer's chop over Worrell's head "was as bad as McSorley's."

While trying not to make excuses, Niedermayer and his teammates said Worrell played a dirty game. He elbowed Niedermayer and received a penalty early in the contest and later was sent off for charging rookie defenseman Colin White.

The Devils also felt Worrell threw other elbows that did not receive penalties.

"I know how Scott feels," Devils center Bobby Holik said. "We're only human. We make mistakes."

Holik was angry at the throat-slashing gesture by the 6-foot-6 (1.98-meter) Worrell.

"The NFL has a written rule on that," Holik said. "The NHL might have to come up with something, too."