Toronto Maple Leafs forward John Tavares has been fined $5000 for slashing Edmonton Oilers defenseman Vincent Desharnais.

The incident came 3:41 into the third period of Saturday’s game in Edmonton. The two players were fighting for position in front of the Edmonton net. Desharnais deliverd a series of crosschecks, then attempted to take out his opponent’s skats. Tavares responded by grabbing a hold of the Oilers defender’s stick. As Desharnais pulled his stick free, Tavares delivered a slash to the blueliner’s right wrist.


Both players were issued minor penalties on the play: Tavares for slashing and Desharnais for cross-checking.

Slashing is coverd under Rule 61:

Slashing is the act of a player swinging his stick at an opponent, whether contact is made or not. Non-aggressive stick contact to the pant or front of the shin pads, should not be penalized as slashing. Any forceful or powerful chop with the stick on an opponent’s body, the opponent’s stick, or on or near the opponent’s hands that, in the judgment of the Referee, is not an attempt to play the puck, shall be penalized as slashing.

Referees may issue a minor or major penalty for slashing depending on the severity of the contact.  A match penalty may be assessed if the ref adjudges that the player attempted to deliberately injure his opponent.

Tavares avoided putting his team shorthanded, but still acknowledged keeping his emotions in check on the ice.

“Obviously, I’ve got to be better in that scenario,” Tavares said. “Control your emotions better, so that’s on me.  Heat of the moment, obviously, course of things throughout the game…  Just have to control your emotions better in that situation, regardless of what I may feel or [if there’s] something going on that I dont like. I’m better than that, and I’ll learn from it”

Maple Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe had no issues with Tavares hitting back.

“You want to see guys be disciplined, especially in a game like that, and maintain their composure,” said Keefe. “Yet at times, emotions are high and the top players in particular, a lot of players take a lot of liberties on them. Especially in tight games, it seems not much of it gets called. Sometimes players have to take it into their own hands in cases like that and stand up for themselves. For that reason, I’ve got no problem with it…   I have no concerns about John’s ability to keep his composure at key times and not cross the line.”

Tavares, who had already scored twice, went on to assist on a power play goal by Auston Matthews later in the period.

The Toronto Maple Leafs won the game 7-4. Referees were Marc Joannette (#25) and Chris Lee (#28), with linesmen David Brisebois (#96) and Andrew Smith (#51).