There's no denying that PK Subban slashed Mark Stone, so I'm not going to try to argue that point. Both Subban and Montreal coach Michel Therrien admitted that he committed the infraction, so we'll let that portion of the equation rest.
Instead, we need to look at the fallout from the slash. Before we do that, here's the video of Subban hacking Mark Stone on the arm.
Mike Johnson talks us through that pretty well, but the final tally was a five-minute major and a game misconduct for PK Subban. The optics of that slash look bad, but Mark Stone sold it hard as if Subban hit him with a machete in an effort to amputate Stone's arm. I'm not buying it.
The Subban penalty was committed at 8:23 of the second period. Mark Stone played 15:06 in the game over 21 shifts. Unless he was double- and triple-shifting in the first 28:23 of the game, Mark Stone returned to the game meaning that his fleeing down the chute to the dressing room was possibly necessary at the time, but certainly not indicative of a major injury.
Why is that important? Well, referee Steve Kozari invoked Rule 61 and its subclauses to come up with the five-minute major based on the optics of that slash. The rule reads as follows:
The problem is that Stone returned to the bench minutes later and took a regular shift. If he's doing that, he's not injured. Or at least not seriously injured. And if he wasn't seriously injured, then Mark Stone embellished that injury which should mean he gets a warning from the league for his embellishment. It also means that the officials in this series now will watch Stone a little closer for any sort of embellishment because Stone made Kozari look bad with his call on Subban.
Officials don't like being shown up, readers.
Further to this, the post-game press conferences saw Ottawa head coach Dave Cameron get a little heated as he spoke about how he believes that Subban should be suspended. The problem is how he framed it.
That's not going to sit well with the NHL. Comments regarding any sort of vengeance or bounty towards another team or player will bring some serious heat from the NHL Offices, and Dave Cameron crossed a line in suggesting one of his players will dish out some served-cold revenge for the slash on Stone.
Dave Cameron: "I think it's an easy solution: You either suspend him or one of their best players gets slashed and just give us five."
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) April 16, 2015
And these two teams have the possibility of playing six more games? Wow.
I'm not the NHL, but I am going to tell you what I think should happen in the aftermath of tonight's game. You may not agree, but this is exactly how I see this playing out so that both teams are happy with the outcome.
- PK Subban is fined for his slash. No further discipline.
- Mark Stone is warned for embellishment. No further discipline.
- Dave Cameron is fined for his comments. No further discipline.
Let's just keep the sticks down, the embellishing to a minimum, and the threats out of the media's hands. This could be a series for the ages.
Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!