Fort Wayne Komets defenseman Brent Henley admitted to cross-checking Tyler Willis. And Henley expected a suspension. The five-game punishment handed down by the International Hockey League on Tuesday, however, he didn't feel was just.
"I did cross-check him and I did so high. I admit that," Henley said of an incident late in Sunday's 4-2 road victory over the Kalamazoo Wings. "But I didn't hit him in the face. If I had, I would be OK with this. And he's not injured. ... (The suspension) is definitely too many games."
The ruling was made by Brad Jones, the International Hockey League's vice-president of hockey operations, after reviewing videotape that showed Henley delivering a few cross-checks to Willis, a notorious agitator, with less than one second on the clock at Wings Stadium.
"Throughout the game, he had his regular act," Henley said. "When we went into the corner, I got slashed in the groin area, and I have a bruise to prove it."
Komets coach Al Sims, however, didn't have a major gripe with the length of the suspension.
"Everything considered, he's close to being right on the amount of games," said Sims, whose Komets lead the IHL by 18 points. "I'm not up in arms about it."
The Komets will have to skate one man short of a full 19-player lineup in the next five games, Sims said, though defenseman Brandon Warner should be back in the lineup from his knee injury beginning Friday against Bloomington, Ill.
Check Wednesday's editions of The Journal Gazette for more on the Henley suspension.
-- By Justin A. Cohn, The Journal Gazette