April 24, 2010
It's almost a nightly occurrence when a game is out of hand and in the waning moments that a post-final whistle scrum breaks out. At the end of tonight's 4-1 win by the Buffalo Sabres over the Boston Bruins, the old Adams Division foes mixed it up with even Ryan Miller(notes) getting involved with Game 4 hero Miroslav Satan(notes):
There were 45 minutes in penalties handed out at the 20:00 mark of the third period, but the Bruins were more concerned with the two-minute instigator call tagged onto captain Zdeno Chara's(notes) five for fighting and game misconduct. Because he was called for an instigator penalty in the final five minutes of the game, Chara was facing an automatic one-game suspension as per NHL law. The League reviewed the play and decided to rescind the punishment, making Chara available for Game 6 on Monday. Like Bob McKenzie of TSN believed, the little slash by Paul Gaustad(notes) (1:29 mark) was what prompted Chara to engage thereby erasing the instigator.
If you were wondering where Boston netminder Tuukka Rask(notes) was hiding during the scrum in hopes of a goalie fight, he had been pulled for the extra man and when he looked over at Tim Thomas(notes) who was working the door, the 2009 Vezina Trophy winner denied the rookie for fear of an automatic suspension for leaving the bench.
UPDATE: The NHL's official release on rescinding the instigator on Chara:
TORONTO (April 24, 2010) – The National Hockey League announced today that the instigator penalty assessed to Boston Bruins’ defenseman Zdeno Chara at the conclusion of last night’s game has been rescinded.
At the end of the third period, Chara was assessed a minor penalty for instigating, a major for fighting and a game misconduct under Rule 47.12, resulting in an automatic one game suspension, pending review.
The League has reviewed the incident and rescinded the automatic suspension under Rule 47.22, which states: “the suspension shall be served unless, upon review of the incident, the Director of Hockey Operations, at his discretion, deems the incident is not related to the score, previous incidents in the game or prior games, retaliatory in nature, ‘message sending,’ etc.”