Ryan Hartman fires back at accusations from Cole Perfetti.
David Becker/AP  

Ryan Hartman fires back at accusations from Cole Perfetti.

Cole Perfetti accused Ryan Hartman of deliberately targeting him with his stick this week, now Hartman is responding.

Jonathan Larivee

The Winnipeg Jets and Minnesota Wild are rapidly developing something of a heated and physical rivalry on the ice and currently in the middle of it are Jets forward Cole Perfetti and Wild forward Ryan Hartman.

The latest drama between these two teams played out in front of the microphones this week rather than on the ice, and came when Perfetti, while speaking to the media, openly accused Hartman of deliberately targeting him with his stick. The incident in question would occur during a faceoff draw between the two men, you can make your own judgement on whether or not you think Hartman intentionally targeted Perfetti on the play:

When speaking to the media, Perfetti claimed that Hartman had informed him that the blow was retaliation for the injury to Minnesota Wild star forward Kirill Kaprizov, an injury which came at the hands of the Winnipeg Jets' Brendan Dillon.

"Yeah he did," said Perfetti. "He made it pretty obvious. He said it in kind of a respectful way.. he said 'Nothing against you just had to happen, something had to happen for what happened to Kaprizov'."

Hartman has now responded to those comments and unsurprisingly he is telling a different version of the story. According to Hartman, he never admitted to striking Perfetti intentionally but instead simply refused to take the bait from a player he knew was being recorded at the time.

"It’s written on the wall that he’s wearing a mic," said Hartman as per Wild insider Mike Russo. "I know he’s wearing a mic all game. He comes up to me multiple times and asks me if I did it on purpose. And finally, all I told him was, 'I’m not gonna say it wasn’t on purpose.'

"So I didn’t tell him, ‘Hey, I did that on purpose.’ He kept coming up to me, and I finally said, 'I’m not gonna say it wasn’t on purpose.' That was the extent of it."

As for why Hartman would phrase things in such a provocative manner when addressing Perfetti? Well according to Hartman it's because he was in fact trying to provoke the Jets forward into taking a bad penalty.

"And, obviously, with this play, how it happened, I’m not sorry he got hit in the face," admitted Hartman. "It happens on faceoffs. And as far as what I said, that I’m not going to say it wasn’t on purpose, if I can say something to get them fired up and get them to retaliate, I’m not going to apologize to the kid or say it was an accident. I’m going to try to fire them up."

Although Hartman does not appear to have been bothered by the accusations themselves, he has taken exception to the fact that Perfetti chose to speak publicly about matters that were discussed on the ice. Perfetti, it would appear, has violated Hartman's more old school interpretation of The Code.

"If everything that was said on the ice was released to the media, there’d be a lot of people in this league in trouble," Hartman said. "I don’t know, I guess we’re in a different day and age where kids talk to people about what’s said on the ice. You’d think things would stay on the ice."

The two sides will get their chance to continue this rivalry on the ice on two more occasions this season, with the next clash between these two teams scheduled to take place on the 20th of February at the Canada Life Center in Winnipeg.