An NHL hockey star has been punished for biting another player ? with "circumstantial evidence" said to suggest that he chomped down on his rival more than once during the match.
Brendan Lemieux, who plays for the Los Angeles Kings, has been hit with a five-game ban and a fine for gnawing on Ottawa Senators captain Brady Tkachuk's hand during a match.
The incident occurred at 13:51 in the third period of the meeting that finished 4-2 to the Kings, as the pair - sons of NHL legends Claude Lemieux and Keith Tkachuk - took part in a brawl.
As Tkachuk showed referees his bare bitten hand, Lemieux was hit with a match penalty and ejected.
Some viewers accused Lemieux of biting Tkachuk more than once, with one hockey writer reporting that the findings from the Zoom hearing had not dismissed that theory.
"While circumstantial evidence supports the argument that Lemieux may have bitten Tkachuk multiple times during this fight, we are limiting our review of this incident to the bite that occurs almost immediately after the players fall to the ice," he quoted the findings as saying.
The NHL's Department of Player Safety has offered Lemieux an in-person hearing, leading some to conclude that an even bigger suspension could be on the horizon.
"While on the ice, Lemieux, feeling Tkachuk's hands on his face as they wrestle, bites Tkachuk on his bare left hand and does so with a substantial amount of force," it said in a video explanation.
An official refuted Lemieux's claim that Tkachuk's wound could have been a result of punching him in the tooth.
Tkachuk was critical of Lemieux following their bust-up and branded his act "the most gutless thing somebody could ever do".
"Nobody ever wants to play with [him]", he added, before calling his foe a "bad guy and a bad teammate", a "complete brickhead", and an "absolute joke".
Rushing to Lemieux's defense, though, was goaltender Jonathan Quick, who said to the King's manager of editorial content Zach Dooley: "I have my own opinion about what happened or did not happen... and what I can tell you is that any comments that were made about [Lemieux] were garbage."
"He's a valuable player who sticks up for his teammates. We all support him, and I'd rather have him on my team over that kid any day of the week."
Head coach Todd McLellan revealed he had spoken to Lemieux. "We talked about him taking care of his teammates and how much we appreciate it," he said.
"He's got a team full of supporters today that are happy he's a part of the group and he does his job and he does it very well."
After serving his suspension, Lemieux, who will forfeit forfeit $38,750, is expected to return to action against the Minnesota Wild on December 11.