The last five minutes of blowout games are usually where the cheap shots happen, and Thursday night's tilt between the Dallas Stars and the Edmonton Oilers was no different.
The culprit: Jamie Benn, who was tossed from the game with a misconduct penalty after delivering a nasty crosscheck to an unsuspecting Ryan Jones in the Oilers' 5-1 rout over Benn's Stars:
It's clear what Benn's upset about. A failed rush into the Stars' end sees Jones stumble into Dallas's crease, as well as Kari Lehtonen, who lives there. Benn doesn't like that. So, with the game pretty well out of reach, he decides to exact a little retribution, coming off the bench and going right after Jones. A heavy crosscheck later, Jones is on the ice and Benn's in the Dallas dressing room with a game misconduct.
But is this play worthy of supplemental discipline? David Staples of the Edmonton Journal thinks so:
The puck was nowhere near Jones. Benn was given a five-minute major and a game misconduct.
But should he also be suspended?
My take? Jamie Benn deserves two or three games for that crosscheck. Nailing an unsuspecting player from behind, with a clear intent to injure, should be cause for suspension. In no way was this was a hockey play.
I don't know if you can say clear intent to injure. But it's still a cheap shot. And it's the sort of calculated cheap shot that definitely deserves another look from the Department of Player Safety, especially since Benn is unconcerned with the repercussions of his actions because the game is all but over. That seems, to me, as good a time as any to supplement the discipline.
Frankly, I'd like to see the NHL invoke Rule 70.1 here, leaving the bench for the sole purpose of starting an altercation. Granted, that rule, which recently earned Ryane Clowe a two-game ban for going after Andrew Shaw, is really in place for fights. But I get the sense that if Jones wasn't completely winded from the cheap shot, he might have gotten up and dropped the gloves. He didn't though, and unfortunately, I don't see the DOPS getting liberal with the definition of "altercation".
Either way, they'll look at this play. Will it see supplemental discipline? A stiff fine? A game or two on the shelf?