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Brawl fallout: Witkowski suspended 10 games, phone hearing for Tkachuk

A line brawl breaks out between the Red Wings and Flames during Detroit's 8-2 win.

As a lapsed fan of the Phoenix Suns, part of me will never totally get over the time Steve Nash’s teammates were automatically suspended for barely stepping onto the court before remembering the NBA’s rules.

The NHL shares the NBA’s tendency to be sticklers about rules that don’t allow room for subjectivity, so it’s not much of a surprise that a wide variety of reporters confirm that Luke Witkowski of the Detroit Red Wings will receive an automatic 10-game suspension for returning to the ice during last night’s wild brawl. (See it in the video above this post’s headline.)

Red Wings GM Ken Holland confirmed the suspension to the Detroit Free Press’ Helene St. James, while Sportsnet’s John Shannon backed up his colleague Nick Kypreos’ report, just to name a few that backed up news. The suspension will run through Dec. 9.

Shannon also backs up Kypreos in this regard: the NHL will hold a phone hearing with Calgary Flames troublemaker Matthew Tkachuk. This typically calls for a shorter suspension, if the league decides to make such a call. Generally speaking, if you get a phone hearing, you’ll often have to sit a few games, with the maximum being five. An in-person hearing usually implies a heavier punishment.

Here’s the rule that Witkowski broke in the heat of the “old-time hockey” moment:

A lot of players (and to an extent, goalies) were involved in the brawl, but from the sound of things, only Witkowski and Tkachuk will miss time because of that memorable fracas from the Red Wings’ resounding 8-2 win against the Flames.

As a reminder, the returning to the ice rule was added, in part, because of moments like these:

And now, footage of that sad moment in Phoenix Suns history to tie this altogether. Not cool, Robert Horry.

(Note: in this post’s Getty Image, you’ll notice that Tkachuk’s mouthpiece is hanging out even during a line brawl. Yeah, the kid is just a natural agitator.)

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.