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Washington Capitals forward Evgeny Kuznetsov has been dealt an early season one-game suspension for unloading a two-hander into Vancouver Canucks defenseman Kyle Burroughs’ chops.
As most NHL fans know, the league hands out suspensions in fairly unpredictable ways. It’s like they determine punishments by way of throwing darts.
That’s why the punishment for what Kuznetsov did on Monday night in Washington was anyone’s guess.
Still, I think Kuznetsov — and the Capitals — are lucky he got away with one game.
Kuznetsov Dodged A Heftier Suspension
Kuznetsov did get a minor penalty for high-sticking, but the on-ice officials didn’t have the luxury of replaying the entire incident the way the Department of Player Safety does.
That was clearly in retaliation attempt on Kuznetsov’s part for Burroughs clearing him out of the crease and then giving a little “Hey, how are ya?” shove.
No one enjoys that, but the two-hander to the pearly whites isn’t exactly a congruent response to a routine play by a defenseman.
Additionally, the DoPS loves to take a player’s prior disciplinary record into account.
Kuznetsov got a $2,000 fine for diving (embarrassing) in 2017 and a three-game suspension in 2019 for off-ice conduct.
He was also dealt a $5,000 fine for high-sticking just last season. So he has a high-sticking on his record, and while his punishments are increasing, you’d think the severity and blatant nature of his high-stick on Burroughs could be cause for at least two games.
But that’s not what he got.
Kuznetsov will miss out on over $40,000 due to missing the Caps game against the Ottawa Senators on Thursday.
The Capitals will be happy he’s only out for one game as he notched three assists against the Canucks.
Follow on Twitter: @Matt_Reigle