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Penguins NHL rescinds suspension of Kasparaitis

Defenseman allowed to play tonight against Ottawa

Tuesday, February 12, 2002

By Dejan Kovacevic, Post-Gazette Sports Writer

OTTAWA -- Penguins defenseman Darius Kasparaitis had his automatic one-game suspension rescinded today and will be permitted to play tonight against the Ottawa Senators. Kasparaitis had received a game misconduct Sunday against the New York Rangers for checking left winger Matthew Barnaby from behind. Because it was his second game misconduct of the season, it carried with it a one-game suspension.

But the league today agreed with the Penguins' appeal of the penalty. Gary Meagher, an NHL vice president, called the game-misconduct call "inappropriate" and said Kasparaitis would not have to sit out one game.

The Penguins claimed in their appeal that neither of the referees had an arm raised to signify a pending penalty, and it wasn't until a minute after the whistle had blown that the team was informed of the call.

"When it happened, it was just a stoppage," said Penguins Coach Rick Kehoe. "Nobody was calling anything. Next minute, Kaspar's got five minutes, and he's out of the game. We're like, 'What's going on?' "

Kasparaitis' other game misconduct occurred Jan. 3 for a board check against Jason Blake of the New York Islanders.

More details in tomorrow's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

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