The Florida Panthers will still have Ben Chiarot available for their next game, after the Department of Player Safety has decided his headbutt on Tampa Bay Lightning forward Ross Colton will earn a fine, instead of a suspension. Chiarot has been fined $5,000 for the incident.
When the playoffs began, it seemed unlikely that there would be two head-butting incidents in the first handful of games but that is exactly what has happened after Darnell Nurse was suspended in the Edmonton Oilers’ first-round series. While there are some comparisons between the two plays, it seemed clear that Chiarot’s was of a lesser degree. Partway through the second period, he and Colton came together after a whistle, and the Panthers’ defenseman pushed his helmet into his opponent’s visor.
The league has obviously deemed that unacceptable but ruled it did not rise to the level of a suspension. Still, Chiarot will now be under the microscope as the Panthers try to continue their postseason run, and could receive further discipline should he be involved in any other incidents like this.