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Tuesday, June 11
Updated: June 11, 5:05 PM ET
 
Fischer first player suspended during finals

ESPN.com news services

Detroit's Jiri Fischer became the first player suspended for a Stanley Cup finals game after the NHL reviewed his cross-check on Carolina's Tommy Westlund in Game 4.

Jiri Fischer
Fischer

Slapped with a one-game suspension, Fischer will miss Game 5 Thursday night in Detroit when the Red Wings, with a 3-1 series lead, try to close out the Hurricanes.

As the two tangled behind the net in third period of Game 4 Monday night, Fischer rammed his stick into Westlund's face. Westlund was bleeding heavily as he left the ice and needed five stitches inside his mouth.

No penalty was called on the play, apparently because referees Paul Devorski and Don Koharski were occupied elsewhere and did not see it. Carolina coach Paul Maurice said afterward he would send a tape of the incident to the league.

"Mr. Fischer's suspension was based on the fact that he delivered an intentional cross-check to the face of the Carolina player," said Colin Campbell, executive vice president of the NHL. "There was nothing about this event that could be deemed related to the play."

Monday night, Red Wings associate coach Barry Smith defended Fischer, who was not penalized during the game.

"It happens in the game," he said. "It wasn't done intentionally," Smith said.

Maurice said Westlund was fine.

"I don't know how many teeth he has left, but he's fine," Maurice said.

Philadelphia's Ron Hextall was suspended during the Stanley Cup finals in 1987, but he served the suspension at the start of the 1987-88 regular season.

Earlier in the game Monday, Fischer set up Igor Larionov's third goal in two games when he acted as if he might shoot, only to pass to Larionov, who beat goalie Arturs Irbe with a shot to the glove side.

The goal helped the Red Wings to a 3-0 victory and a 3-1 series lead.




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