Stafford’s Attacker Earns Record Suspension

Alexander Perezhogin, the American Hockey League forward who sent Garrett Stafford to the hospital with a concussion and other injuries after a stick-swinging incident in an April 30 AHL playoff game, has been suspended for the rest of the postseason and the entire 2004-05 season.

The league announced the penalty Friday after completing its review of the incident. Stafford was also suspended for six games for hitting Perezhogin with his stick in the same game.

The AHL, in its review, found that Stafford “swung his stick in a dangerous manner, striking a glancing blow on the back of Perezhogin’s helmet” late in the first period. Perezhogin’s retaliation, a “forceful, two-handed baseball-like swing to Stafford’s face,” knocked the former New Hampshire defenseman unconscious.

“While in my opinion the action of Mr. Stafford was clearly a contributing factor to the incident, the reaction by Mr. Perezhogin was indefensible in terms of both its nature and its real and potential consequences,” said David Andrews, the AHL’s president and CEO.

Perezhogin’s suspension is the longest in AHL history.