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Islanders Mathew Barzal Escapes Suspension, Only Assessed a Fine for Crosscheck on Rutta



New York Islanders Mathew Barzal bad penalty

New York Islanders forward Mathew Barzal escaped any major supplementary discipline from the NHL for his crosscheck to the face of Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Jan Rutta. He was assessed only a $5,000, which is the maximum allowable under the Collective Bargaining Agreement

Islanders head coach Barry Trotz said that he hadn’t heard anything from the league when he addressed reporters Tuesday afternoon. Trotz indicated that the NHL Department of Player Safety would usually give the team a heads up if any punishment was going to be handed down or if they were looking at the play.

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“I don’t anticipate anything,” Trotz said. “But like I say it’s not what I think, it’s really what they think.”

Barzal was assessed a five-minute major and a game misconduct after Rutta and Barzal exchanged crosschecks in front of the team benches at the end of the second period of Game 5. Barzal hit the Tampa defenseman in the face with his stick sending him to the ice.

The Islanders dropped Game 5 in ugly fashion 8-0 and trail the best-of-seven series 3-2.

Barzal has had a habit of taking undisciplined penalties before, but it had seemed his growth and maturity had eliminated that from his game during the Islanders’ postseason run. Prior to Monday night, Barzal had just four penalty minutes in 16 playoff games this season with the Islanders.

Teammate Jordan Eberle called the play out of character for Barzal.

“Emotions are running high when a game is like that,” Eberle said. “It’s out of character, but things are physical out there sometimes. Things get heated and escalated. I know Barzy and the character that he has. I think him and the rest of the group we will definitely respond tomorrow.”

Tampa head coach Jon Cooper told reporters on Tuesday morning that he did not have any update on Rutta.

This was the first time the Islanders have found themselves in this spot during the postseason, while they watched Boston receive fines on several occasions during their Second Round Series with the Bruins. The Islanders registered 57 minutes in penalties in Game 5.

On Monday night, New York Islanders head coach Barry Trotz said he was “disappointed” in the position Barzal put his teammates in. “It wasn’t going well and he just sort of dug it a little deeper for the guys,” Trotz said.

Game 6 is scheduled to take place on Wednesday at the Nassau Coliseum. The Islanders’ season and time at the Coliseum would come to an end with a loss to Tamp Bay.


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