Winnipeg Jets forward Mathieu Perreault, hit in the face by an elbow from Vancouver Canucks forward Jake Virtanen on Tuesday, took some shots of his own at NHL officiating and the league's Department of Player Safety on Thursday.
"I'm not surprised. Player safety, my ass," Perreault told media members at Jets practice after finding out that Virtanen would not be suspended for his actions in the Jets' 4-0 victory. "This is literally an elbow to the face of a guy that didn't have the puck. I see him coming, I brace for the hit. It was a late hit, I didn't have the puck, and he flicks his elbow in the face.
"They're not going to do anything about it. So I gotta take matters into my own hands. The next time this happens, I get to swing my stick across his forehead, and I shouldn't get suspended then."
The 32-year-old Perreault, listed at 5-foot-10, 188 pounds, is in his 11th NHL season, including his sixth with Winnipeg. He has collected 12 points (six goals, six assists) in 41 games this season, boosting his career total to 321 points (129 goals, 192 assists) in 619 games.
"I can't really protect myself if the league's not going to protect me," Perreault added. "I'm the smallest guy in the ice, so I can't really fight anybody. The only thing I can do to defend myself is use my stick so the next guy that does that to me is gonna get my (expletive) stick. And I better not get suspended for it."
Last month, the NHL suspended Philadelphia Flyers forward Joel Farabee three games for a hit that left Perreault with a concussion. Perreault sat out six games with the injury.
Jets coach Paul Maurice pointed to Perreault's history when saying Thursday of the Virtanen hit, "(Perreault's) sensitive to it, and rightfully so. But even if you hadn't had a head injury, that's not right."
Maurice added of the NHL's decision not to suspend Virtanen, "It's disappointing. Really disappointing. I thought that one was (clear), easy to see."
--Field Level Media