Minnesota Wild captain Jared Spurgeon was fined but not suspended for a cross-check to the ankle of St. Louis Blues winger Pavel Buchnevich in Game 1 of their series Monday night.
Spurgeon was fined $5,000 by the NHL Department of Player Safety, which is the maximum allowable under the collective bargaining agreement.
With 1:46 left in the third period and the Blues leading 4-0, Spurgeon battled with Buchnevich in the Wild’s defensive zone. With Buchnevich on his knees, the Minnesota defenseman brought his weight down on his stick and delivered a cross-check to Buchnevich’s right ankle.
Spurgeon was given a two-minute minor penalty.
Despite the apparent intent on the play, Spurgeon avoided suspension, primarily because Buchnevich was not injured on the play. The Blues winger returned to play on the ensuing power play in Game 1, which St. Louis won to take a 1-0 series lead.
The Department of Player Safety typically hands out fines rather than suspensions for stick infractions that don’t result in an injury. For example, in October 2017, Blues defenseman Robert Bortuzzo struck New York Islanders forward a few times in his back with cross-checks while Nelson was down on the ice. Bortuzzo was fined for that incident.
He was suspended for four games in 2019 for delivering multiple cross-checks to Nashville forward Viktor Arvidsson. The previous fine was cited in the suspension decision.
Spurgeon has never been suspended by the NHL and is considered one of the NHL’s cleaner players. He had just 10 penalty minutes in 65 games this season. He was the runner-up for the Lady Byng Trophy last season, which is given annually to the NHL player “adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability.”
Game 2 of the series is scheduled for Wednesday night.
In other playoff disciplinary news, Tampa Bay Lightning forwards Pat Maroon and Corey Perry have been fined $2,250 and $2,500, respectively, and Toronto Maple Leafs forward Wayne Simmonds has been fined $2,250 for unsportsmanlike conduct during Game 1 of their series in Toronto on Monday night.