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Rangers’ Kreider Faces Maximum Fine

Chris Kreider (left) and Cody Eakin. (Bruce Bennett - Getty Images)

Chris Kreider (left) and Cody Eakin. (Bruce Bennett – Getty Images)

On December 15, 2016, the New York Rangers visited the Dallas Stars to kick off a two-game road trip.  During that matchup, Stars’ forward Cody Eakin was involved in a collision with Rangers’ goaltender, Henrik Lundqvist.  Eakin was subsequently suspended for four games as a result of the incident, as the league determined the hit to be intentional.  No argument there.  Eakin got what was coming to him, at least from the corporate side of things.

Rule 1A of the unwritten code amongst players: don’t you dare touch my goalie; you touch my goalie, and I’m gonna kill ya!  That was verbatim, by the way.  While there was a lack of immediate response on the Rangers’ part on the night of December 15, there certainly was no inaction on Tuesday evening when the Stars visited Madison Square Garden.  From the get-go, the Rangers got chippy with the visiting team.  Rangers’ forward Rick Nash, in particular, wasted no time giving the Stars’ players the business, letting them know that such behavior directed towards their franchise goaltender will not be tolerated.

After Eakin was the center of attempted intimidation, the elephant in the room was finally confronted early on in the second period when Rangers’ forward Chris Kreider mandated Eakin drop the gloves.  Eakin knew a scrap was inevitable.  After all, Sir Isaac Newtown’s third law of motion clearly states that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.

Chris Kreider cannot be faulted for the fight.  In fact, he should be applauded.  There is a time and place for fighting in the NHL.  Rangers were down 3-1 to start the second period and were looking for a spark.  Enter Kreider.  Eakin took a run at a helpless Henrik Lundqvist just over a month ago.  Can’t argue with the timing here.

However, Chris Kreider made a costly mistake during his scrap.  Kreider grabbed Eakin’s helmet and smacked him upside the head with it.  It was very subtle, but it was enough to draw the attention of the league’s office, who Wednesday imposed a $5,000 fine against the 25-year old.  There is no rule in the rulebook that directly addresses the use of a foreign object in a fight (ask our very own Lead Wrestling/MMA analyst and 2016 Double G Sports Staff Member of the Year, Daniel Yanofsky, about the use of foreign objects during fights and its consequences).  However, Rule 53.5 addresses attempts to injure an opposing player, coach, or any non-player (anyone, really) with the use of “a stick or any other object or piece of equipment…”

According to Rule 53.5, Chris Kreider should have actually received a match penalty.  Rule 53.5 mentions twice that a match penalty should be imposed when a foreign object is used, whether injury occurs or not.  Furthermore, according to Rule 21.1, “A match penalty shall be imposed on any player who deliberately attempts to injure or who deliberately injures an opponent in any manner.”  When a match penalty is imposed, the offending player is ejected immediately.

Maybe the referees missed it.  Maybe they had not memorized every rule word-for-word.  Regardless, Kreider remained in the game after serving five minutes for fighting.  Kreider already had an assist on Derek Stepan’s opening tally.  He would even add a goal at 3:11 into the third period to complete the Gordie Howe Hat Trick.  A small victory in the 7-6 loss, at best; a wonderful trivia tidbit, at the very least.

The $5,000 fine imposed on Kreider is the maximum penalty allowed under the Collective Bargaining Agreement where a player is not suspended for subsequent games after an offense has occurred.  The fines paid go directly to the Player’s Emergency Assistance Fund.  The Fund is designed to assist members of the NHL community who face certain financial distresses, including current or former players, their families, coaches, scouts, and on-ice officials.

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Evan is the Hockey Editor for He provides coverage of the New Jersey Devils, New York Rangers, New York Islanders, and Philadelphia Flyers, as well as some league-wide content.

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