Dallas Stars forward Antoine Roussel has been fined the maximum amount under the CBA for punching San Jose Sharks defenseman Justin Braun during Saturday’s game in Dallas.
Late in the third period, with his team leading 3-2, Sharks goaltender Alex Stalock tried a tennis-style forehand with his goal stick to clear the puck out of the zone. As he followed through on his baseline drive, Roussel plowed through the netminder, knocking him to the ice. The play happened directly in front of referee Ghislain Hebert, who called Roussel for goaltender interference and issued a game misconduct.
The Sharks, though, were looking to hand out their own punishment. The ensuing brawl – despite dropped gloves and thrown punches – led to no penalties for any of the combatants, but it has resulted in a review from the Department of Player Safety. Roussel was fined $5,376.34 for punching Justin Braun while Braun was being restrained by linesman Brian Murphy.
San Jose Sharks head coach Todd McClellan spoke about the punch after the game. “You know what disappoints me is when a guy is vulnerable and being held and he gets punched,” said McClellan. “That’s the disappointing thing. I don’t think anybody in our league, the 750 players, the coaches, want to see that. It’s just not a classy move.”
Defenseman Justin Braun also weighed in on the sequence and its outcome.
“A scrum broke out, I didn’t think it was going to turn into that, and end up getting punched in the face,” said Braun. “You can’t really do much about it. I thought it was going to be a penalty, and he ended up getting thrown out of the game, but I thought we’d end up on the positive side of the power play on that one.”
Roussel’s minor for goaltender interference was off-set by netminder Alex Stalock’s delay of game penalty for clearing the puck over the glass. No penalties were handed out during the scrum. Referees for the game were Ghislain Hebert and Dennis LaRue. Linesmen were Mike Cvik and Brian Murphy.
In case you’re wondering about that fine, it’s based on a percentage of a player’s salary. Per NHL CBA Section 18.7b:
A fine may be in an amount up to fifty percent (50%) of the Player’s Paragraph 1 NHL Salary and Bonuses, but not including Performance Bonuses, divided by the number of days in the Regular Season, but in no event shall it exceed $10,000 for the first fine and $15,000 for any subsequent fine imposed in any rolling twelve (12) month calendar period. Player Salary and Bonuses forfeited due to a fine will be calculated based on a Player’s Averaged Amount.
The last player to receive supplemental discipline for a similar play was Los Angeles Kings forward Jordan Nolan. In March 2014, he was suspended one game for punching Edmonton Oilers forward Jesse Joensuu while the two were being separated by linesman Mark Wheler. Nolan’s play was more unexpected and more violent. There was no fight underway; Joensuu never even saw it coming.
With Roussel avoiding suspension for the hit, Gatorade coolers all across the league are cowering in fear…