NHL fines, does not uphold suspension of Carolina's Bayda

Luke DeCock of the News & Observer is reporting that Ryan Bayda(notes) of the Carolina Hurricanes will be fined $2,500 but not have his automatic suspension upheld by the NHL for his actions in Game 2 against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Bayda was given a match penalty late in the third period, which carries with it an automatic suspension pending the League's review. Review it they did, and suspended he is not. Here's how we saw it last night:

Let's see: Ryan Bayda took Kris Letang(notes) hard to the boards on an icing call with 1:19 left in the game and then cross-checked him to the face. Intent? Check. Stick work? Check. Blow to the head? Check. "Message sending" at the end of the game? Check. Match penalty? Check. It doesn't get more cut-and-dry for supplementary discipline by the standards the NHL has established this postseason. Which of course means Colin Campbell will instead nominate Bayda for the Nobel Peace Prize ...

Well, not quite. But he's still eligible to play in Game 3 on Saturday night. Here's the play in question:

Again, this is "message sending" at its most blatant: a violent play that begot more violence in a game that had already been decided. The only thing separating it from the suspension Daniel Carcillo(notes) of the Philadelphia Flyers received in the first round is the notion that Paul Maurice purposely put Bayda out there to stir the pot. (Which shouldn't be assumed in this case.)

As I said on Twitter: The NHL should apologize to Carcillo and Milan Lucic(notes) of the Boston Bruins. Clearly, the League overreached in its suspensions earlier in the postseason, setting standards they haven't (or never intended to) meet. Because, to the letter, Bayda's infraction is suspension-level; the only out possibly being that Letang wasn't injured.

We know the Igloo looks like Thunderdome. But unless you plan on dangle chainsaws from the ceiling and swapping out Bettman for Tina Turner (or Master Blaster), the rules should matter, right?.

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