From the NHL:
Columbus Blue Jackets forward Brandon Dubinsky has been fined $10,000, the maximum allowed under the Collective Bargaining Agreement, for boarding Los Angeles Kings defenseman Rob Scuderi in NHL Game #131 in Columbus on Tuesday, February 5, the National Hockey League’s Department of Player Safety announced today.
The incident occurred at 11:29 of the second period. Dubinsky was assessed a major penalty for boarding and game misconduct.
First, let’s celebrate the fact that Dubinsky wasn’t suspended for the hit. He’s a first-time offender; and as he explained to Puck-Rackers, he’s not exactly out for blood on that hit:
"Plays happen fast," Dubinsky said. "I think he definitely felt me. I grabbed him and then I tried to get body position on him. I wasn’t trying to take a run at him. I’ve been in the league for a long time and I’ve never had a major for anything other than fighting. It’s a tough call. Obviously I’m not the type of player that goes out and tries to go after players to hurt them."
Notice what Dubinsky does before the hit?
He sticks his glove out, perhaps to slow Scuderi up or perhaps to, as he said, get body position on him. This wasn’t even as egregious as the infamous Steve Bernier hit on Scuderi in the Stanley Cup Final – the common denominator being that Scuderi turned his numbers to the checker, of course.
That said, it’s the kind of play the NHL doesn’t want to see occur at all, mitigating circumstances of Scuderi’s body position being what they were. So a fine was … fine.
Please recall the new rules for financial penalties in the CBA:
Permissible fines for on-ice infractions increased to an amount up to 50 percent of the Player’s Paragraph 1 NHL Salary and Bonuses (not including Performance Bonuses) divided by the number of days in the Regular Season and may not exceed $10,000 on a first-time basis, and $15,000 on a second and subsequent time basis (determined in accordance with a rolling 12-month period). All fines above $5,000 are subject to the hearing procedure accorded to Players subject to suspension not exceeding five (5) Games. Player fines shall not be charged against the Players’ Share.
So Dubinsky gets the max fine for this, and we imagine every fine the NHL doles out to a player will follow suit.
Maybe things are different if it were only a paltry $2,500 hit for Dubinsky. But $10,000 and a black mark on his record get the message across.
Hopefully this means more fines for marginal plays rather than one-game suspensions, going forward.