NHL.com is reporting that Tampa Bay Lightning forward Ross Colton has been fined $5,000 by the Department of Player Safety for his cross-check on New Jersey Devils forward Timo Meier. Colton received a five-minute major and a game misconduct for cross-checking and has now been assessed the fine, which is the maximum allowable under the Collective Bargaining Agreement.
On top of the five-minute major and the game misconduct, Colton was also assessed a two-minute boarding penalty for a questionable hit he laid on defenseman Luke Hughes that kickstarted the Meier altercation. Hughes and Colton were racing towards a loose puck when Colton engaged contact from the side before Hughes had ever made a play on the puck. Hughes left the game for a bit but did ultimately return, while Meier remained in the game and scored on the power play that followed Colton’s penalty.
Colton is lucky, given how ugly the cross-check appeared to be on the initial replays. A $5,000 fine is a pretty favorable outcome for the Avalanche player, given that had he been suspended he would have forfeited roughly $50K for each game missed. Colton does not have any history of suspensions or fines during his four-year NHL career.
The money from the fine will go to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.