It hasn’t been the easiest run for Flames prospect Juuso Valimaki since being drafted by the Flames back in 2017. After showing some promise and getting ready to join the big club, he had a knee injury that sidelined him for most of that season. Then he made it to Calgary, but since Darryl Sutter took over as head coach, the Finnish defenceman hasn’t been able to crack the lineup. Valimaki has only seen action in eight NHL games this season before being shipped to Stockton to play with the Heat in the AHL.
His season in Stockton has been hampered by injuries, but he has a respectable seven assists in 11 games. He had just returned from injury and played in Saturday night’s 2-1 victory over Ontario, but things went array for Valimaki in the third period. There was a skirmish along the boards and Valimaki arrived as the third Stockton player in the fray and tangled a bit with Brett Sutter. As the referee was breaking things up and sending Valimaki away, the Stockton defenceman made contact with the referee. The referee immediately motioned that Valimaki was gone from the game and he received a Game Misconduct Penalty for Physical Abuse of Officials. Here’s the video of the incident:
Playing in his first game since Jan. 9, #Flames prospect Juuso Valimaki was assessed a Game Misconduct for Physical Abuse of Officials (Cat. III) at the 3:05 mark of P3 in tonight's @AHLHeat game against Ontario.— Mike Gould (@miketgould) January 30, 2022
The penalty carries an automatic three-game suspension. pic.twitter.com/b0unk7M1vM
You can view this however you want, but it looks as if Valimaki made deliberate contact with the referee in an attempt to get back to Brett Sutter. The penalty carries an automatic three game suspension. According to AHL rules, the suspension will be reviewed by the league and can either be upheld or overturned.
You have to think the league will look at this and uphold the suspension as the video clearly shows Valimaki making contact with the referee. This is just another weird turn in Valimaki’s career and you have to think this incident isn’t going to help him get back to the NHL any quicker.
We’ll keep you post on any updates involving this situation.