Malkin avoids suspension for instigator penalty
Pittsburgh Penguins forward Evgeni Malkin will not be suspended after receiving an instigator penalty in the closing seconds of Game 2 of the Stanley Cup final, the NHL announced after Sunday's contest.
Malkin was hit with a five-minute major for fighting, plus the instigator and a game misconduct after fighting with Detroit's Henrik Zetterberg during a melee with 19 seconds left in the Penguins' 3-1 loss.
NHL rules state that "a player who is deemed to be the instigator of an altercation in the final five minutes or at any time in overtime shall be suspended for one game, pending a review of the incident."
Colin Campbell, the NHL's executive in charge of discipline, decided that a one-game ban for Malkin wasn't warranted.
"Suspensions are applied under this rule when a team attempts to send a message in the last five minutes by having a player instigate a fight," Campbell said in a statement. "A suspension could also be applied when a player seeks retribution for a prior incident. Neither was the case here and therefore the one game suspension is rescinded."
Campbell made a similar ruling earlier in the playoffs, electing not to suspend Carolina Hurricanes forward Scott Walker after he punched Boston Bruins defenceman Aaron Ward in the face in the third period of Game 5 of the teams' second-round series. Walker was fined $2,500 US.
Penguins forward Bill Guerin said Malkin didn't deserve a suspension.
"I've seen a lot worse in these playoffs," Guerin said. "That's just emotion. That happens. A couple of guys like that going at it, there's nothing wrong with that. Two great players going at it, that's fine. … It's not like a tough guy fighting a star, or a big guy fighting a little guy."
Malkin did not speak to reporters after Game 2, in which he had his team's only goal to increase his playoff-leading point total to 30.
The Penguins trail the best-of-seven Cup final series two games to none, with Game 3 set for Tuesday night in Pittsburgh (CBC, CBCSports.ca, 8 p.m. ET).