Winnipeg Jets defenseman Neal Pionk has been fined $5000 for cross-checking Minnesota Wild forward Marcus Johansson.
The cross-check came late in Tuesday’s game in Minnesota. Johansson played the puck around the boards when Pionk delivered a cross-check to his ribs, driving the Wild forward into the glass.
Pionk was issued a major penalty for cross-checking on the play by referees Trevor Hanson and Jean Hebert. They confirmed the call on the ice via video review, upholding the five-minute penalty.
Neal Pionk has been fined $5,000 for this cross-check on Marcus Johansson pic.twitter.com/DRIt6BCrVS
— Spittin’ Chiclets (@spittinchiclets) April 12, 2023
Johansson remained on the ice, but eventually skated off under his own power. No word on if he’ll miss the Wild’s regular season finale on Thursday against the Predators.
Minnesota head coach Dean Evason addressed the play after the game.
“We want to play hard, and we want to play right — we don’t want to play like that,” Evason said, as reported by The Athletic’s Joe Smith. “That’s just stupid at the end. What for? What for? Like, play hard. If you want to fight, then fight. All the cheap stuff is wrong. Our group will fight if we want to fight. But the cheap stuff right now with one game to go before the playoffs? We’ve got a guy that might be out [with an injury]. [Pionk] gets a cheap five-minute major at the end of a hockey game?”
“It’s stupid. It makes no sense. It’s frustrating, for sure. Like I said, if you want to fight, fight. Great. Drop your gloves and fight. That’s what it’s there for. The cheap crap is not good.”
Gloves were dropped shortly after, as Evason sent Ryan Reaves out for the following shift. He off against Winnipeg’s Adam Lowry.
Pionk’s fine is the maximum allowable under the Collective Bargaining Agreement without a formal hearing.
Winnipeg Jets won the game 3-1. Referees were Trevor Hanson (#14) and Jean Hebert (#15), with linesmen Trent Knorr (#74) and Jonny Murray (#95).