Brendan Lemieux could receive a more severe punishment than a five-minute major penalty and game misconduct for his alleged biting of fellow forward Brady Tkachuk’s left hand.
The Los Angeles Kings winger on Sunday was offered an in-person hearing via Zoom with the NHL’s department of player safety, meaning he could be suspended six or more games.
The date and time for the hearing have yet to be determined.
Lemieux and Tkachuk were grappling on the ice in the third period of Saturday night’s game won 4-2 by the Kings over Ottawa before Tkachuk emerged with blood on his hand and told officials he had been bit.
The play was reviewed and Lemieux was assessed a five-minute major, match penalty and game misconduct.
“It’s outrageous,” a furious Tkachuk told The Ottawa Sun after the game. “Kids don’t even do that anymore. Babies do that. I don’t even know what he was thinking. He’s just a complete brick head. He’s got nothing up there. Bad guy, bad player, but what a joke he is.
“It was the most gutless thing somebody can ever do. This guy, you can ask any one of his teammates, nobody ever wants to play with him. This guy is a bad guy and a bad teammate; he focuses on himself all the time.”
Kings head coach Todd McLellan said Lemieux needs to be careful not to cross the line in instances like his fracas with Tkachuk.
“We need him playing every night,” McLellan said. “We need him playing every minute that he gets. Offensively, defensively, physically, emotionally. And if we happen to lose him for any period of time, we’ll miss him.”
Lemieux, the son of retired NHL agitator Claude Lemieux, was barred two games in 2018 for an illegal check to the head of Florida’s Vincent Trocheck and two Stanley Cup qualifying contests for interference in 2020 against Colorado forward Joonas Donskoi.
The NHL has previously disciplined others for biting, handing Marc Savard a one-game suspension for biting the glove of Darcy Tucker in 2003. Six years later, Jarkko Ruutu sat two games for biting Andrew Peters.
In 22 seasons, Claude Lemieux was perhaps best known for his ability to get under the skin of opponents, some of whom accused him of dirty play.
In the 1996 Western Conference final between his Colorado Avalanche and Detroit, Lemieux checked Red Wings forward Kris Draper from behind into the boards, leaving him with a broken jaw, nose and cheekbone.
The Kings host the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday.