Give ’em headbutts!  Not sure if that 1980’s classic from John Otway – which we’ve featured on the podcast – is on Ben Chiarot’s playlist, but perhaps it should be.

Florida Panthers defenseman Ben Chiarot has been fined $5,000 for a headbutt on Tampa Bay Lightning forward Ross Colton during Game 1.  The two players came together in front of the net midway through the second period.  Chiarot delivered a mild headbutt, bumping visors with Colton before the officials separated the two players.


No penalty was called for the headbutt, but Chiarot and Colton both picked up matching minors for cross-checking.

Chiarot’s fortunate there was no initial call.   Head-butting is one of the stricter infractions in the book, with a double-minor just for attempting a headbutt.  From Rule 47:

The act of head-butting involves a player making intentional contact, or attempting to make contact, with an opponent by leading with his head and/or helmet.

A double-minor penalty shall be imposed on a player who attempts to head-butt an opponent.

A major penalty shall be imposed on a player who head-butts an opponent. When a major penalty is assessed
under this rule, a game misconduct penalty must be imposed.

A match penalty shall be imposed on a player who injures an opponent as a result of a head-butt.

The Panthers dodged a huge bullet there, facing being down a man for at least four minutes.

Instead, Chiarot misses no time in lieu of a $5000 fine.

With Edmonton’s Darnell Nurse recently suspended one game for a far more violent – and dangerous – headbutt, there wasn’t much option for Player Safety here.  This once wasn’t particularly aggressive. It seemed more of an intimidation tactic, not one looking to cause injury.

Nonetheless, headbutts of any kind are against the rulebook, and it’s good to see Player Safety acknowledge that — even if it’s just a monetary penalty.

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