Cross-checking is apparently the flavor of the week for the NHL Department of Player Safety. After handing Winnipeg Jets defenseman Ben Chiarot a maximum fine for cross-checking on Monday, they have assigned the same punishment to St. Louis Blues forward Jaden Schwartz, per an announcement. Schwartz will be out $5,000 as a result of his actions, the most he could be fined under the CBA.
The hit in question was on Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Dougie Hamilton in last night’s game between the two teams, a convincing 5-2 Hurricanes win. Late in the first period, Hamilton delivered a hard, but legal check on Schwartz along the boards and Schwartz decided to retaliate with a cross-check up high on Hamilton. The decision cost Schwartz a two-minute minor right away, but has cost him even more in retrospect. It’s another knock against Schwartz in a disappointing season for the 26-year-old winger. Schwartz has just 28 points through 58 games and it could be that his offensive frustration is beginning to boil over into his checking game.
Player Safety might not be done dolling out discipline today. They have also announced that New Jersey Devils forward Kurtis Gabriel will have a hearing this afternoon in regards to a boarding penalty against the Philadelphia Flyers’ Nolan Patrick last night. So too will Winnipeg Jets forward Adam Lowry for what’s being called “high-sticking/slashing” on Nashville Predators forward Filip Forsberg. With the Devils set to face the Boston Bruins tonight, the department will likely act swiftly in their punishment of Gabriel following his hearing, while they can take more time with the Lowry decision as the Jets are off today.