On Thursday, Hamilton police Det. Dave Brady told the press in an AM news conference that they have charged Canadiens prospect Alexander Perezhogin with assault causing bodily harm. As a result, he now faces a jail term of up to 18 months.
“In hockey, you are consenting to a certain level of assault every time you step on the ice, but at a certain point you cross the line,” said Brady. “It was more than a mere trifling injury.” Perezhogin appeared in Hamilton court Thursday after officially being charged the night before. He is cooperating fully with police.
Back on April 30th, Perezhogin brutally slashed Cleveland Barons defenceman Garrett Stafford in the head in retaliation to one he received from Stafford seconds earlier. Perezhogin’s slash caused the Sharks prospect to go into convulsions on the ice, with blood oozing from his face. He was then rushed to hospital, and later needed 20 stitches to close the gap. Stafford has not played since the incident.
Around a week after the suspension, AHL President and CEO Dave Andrews announced that Perezhogin had been suspended for the remainder of the 2003-04 playoffs, plus the entire 2004-05 season and playoffs. Stafford, for his part in the incident, recieved 6 games. He will serve his suspension at the beginning of the AHL campaign.
So far, there has been no comment from either the Montreal Canadiens organization, or the Perezhogin camp. His agent Don Meehan has said that Perezhogin is back in Canada, after spending the offseason training in Russia. The San Jose Sharks have released a brief statement regarding the charges: “In regards to the charges, we left the issue in the hands of the Hamilton authorities and they decided what they felt was the best course of action,” said Sharks assistant GM Wayne Thomas. No further court dates have been set as of yet for Perezhogin.