The Komets are going to lose forward Brad MacMillan for one game, thanks to a suspension handed down by the IHL on Tuesday, but Fort Wayne learned it will soon regain the services of fan-favorite Mitch Woods.
MacMillan, who just last week came off a 15-game suspension for leaving the penalty box to fight a Muskegon player Oct. 31, was under the IHL’s microscope for an incident in Sunday’s 6-5 loss to Bloomington. In the midst of a fight with defenseman Matthew Spiller, MacMillan ripped Spiller’s helmet off and inadvertently hit him with it one time.
Yeah, I’m OK with this, MacMillan said. I had a good conversation with (league disciplinarian) Brad Jones. He explained the ruling, and he felt it wasn’t intentional. The punishment fits the crime. The way it’s written (with a match penalty for intent to injure), it called for me to get at least one game, whether it’s intentional or not.
I’m not enthusiastic about having to sit one game. But it could have been worse. Brad Jones understands the game. He played the game. So I’m satisfied with the ruling and we’ll move on.
When Jones, the IHL’s vice president of hockey operations, tried to decide the appropriate punishment for MacMillan, he looked to the past.
In 2004, the Flint Generals’ Chad Grills received a two-game suspension for nearly the same thing.
It was fairly similar but there was more intent with that incident, Jones said. I had a good talk with Brad about this. It was an unfortunate incident. Nothing was intentional about what Brad did. But he did hit him – contact was made – and I had to address that.
MacMillan will miss Saturday’s game at Muskegon, Mich., which would have been his first chance to face the Lumberjacks since his 15-game suspension.
Woods, a right wing, tallied 15 goals, 36 points and 297 penalty minutes with Fort Wayne in 2007-08. He was re-signed in the summer, but his comeback was derailed when he couldn’t get a leave of absence from his job as a youth-care worker with troubled and disadvantaged children.
That leave was finally granted, and Woods will join the Komets Jan. 11, with his tentative return to the lineup set for the last week in January.
He’s a fan favorite and will bring some energy, Komets general manager David Franke said. And he’ll add some toughness. But he can play the game, and he’s going to add some offense. He’s very team-oriented.