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Lightning Round: Mikhail Sergachev fined for slash against Michael Bunting

The refs missed it, but DOPS is always watching

Toronto Maple Leafs v Tampa Bay Lightning - Game Four Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

On Tuesday, Mikhail Sergachev slashed Michael Bunting. On Wednesday, Sergachev’s wallet was a little lighter. The NHL’s Department of Player Safety reviewed the play and determined that Sergachev’s stickwork was worthy of a fine.

Did Sergachev deserve the fine? Honestly, yeah. It was a pretty egregious slash, well behind the play, that had absolutely no effect on the play. It was so far behind the play none of the officials saw it as they were focused on the play up the ice. Hence, no call on the ice at the time it happened.

While Bunting wasn’t hurt on the play, those types of slashes can be dangerous, especially if the receiving player has no idea it’s coming.

Should he have been suspended for it? No. A fine is a perfectly fine punishment for it. An argument could be made that there should be a tier system for fines based on a player’s previous history. For instance, Sergachev was fined back in 2019 for a cross-check on Buffalo’s Johan Larsson and was suspended in 2021 for an illegal hit to Mitch Marner’s head. However, the current CBA doesn’t really take that into consideration unless it’s an in-person hearing, which wasn’t the case for this instance.

If you’re wondering why the “maximum allowable” fine is different for some players, it’s because it’s partially based on a players daily salary. If the player doesn’t have an in-person hearing, such as Sergachev, the maximum amount is either 50% of the players daily average salary or $5,000, whichever is lower. For an in-person hearing, that fine can go as high as $10,00 for first time offenders.

With his salary at $7.2 million this year, and about 185 days in the season his average daily salary is roughly $38,918. Half of that is about $19,459. Since the CBA states that it is the lower of the two options, he’s only dinged the $5,000.

However, if a player on a much lower salary, say Nick Perbix ($842,500) is fined over the phone by the league. His maximum fine would be about $2275 because 50% of his daily salary (about $4551) is less than the $5,000.

Could that change in future CBA’s? Possibly, but those are the rules for now and it’s likely the NHLPA would dig in their heels about raising the dollar amount they could be fined when they break the rules.

According to Wikipedia’s list of fines in 2022-23, Sergachev is the second Lightning played to be fined this season, following Pat Maroon’s $2,702 fine for leaving the bench to fight Garnet Hathaway in the game against the Capitals last month. In total, they have $61,171.16 in fines (not including money lost due to suspensions) being levied across the league. That money goes to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.

Lightning / NHL News

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