Florida Panthers forward Anthony Duclair avoided supplemental discipline for a slash that injured Tampa Bay Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov.
The slash came midway through the third period of Florida’s Game 4 loss to the Lightning, with the Panthers trailing 6-2.
Away from the play. Duclair caught Kucherov in the back of the leg, sending him to the ice.
Duclair was given a minor penalty for slashing by referees Garrett Rank and Kelly Sutherland.
“Not much there for me,” Panthers coach Joel Quenneville said of the penalty call. “I hope [Kucherov] is all right.”
While Player Safety may not have felt that the slash rose to the level to require supplemental discipline, perhaps it should have.
Player Safety first looks at the act to see if it was a suspendable offense. Then they consider if the play resulted in an injury. Next, they look to see if the player committing the infraction has a history with Player Safety.
They should also consider the context of the play. In this case, the slash didn’t come as an attempt to take possession of the puck or to make a defensive play on the puck. It was a chop – albeit not a violent one – but one that had no practical benefit as a hockey play.
Actions away from the play – especially those with intent to injure, as this was – should be graded more harshly when it comes to supplemental discipline.
Duclair deserves a game for that slash. Instead, he’ll be back on the ice for Game 5.
No word on whether Kucherov will be.