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Looks like no fine or suspension for Nathan MacKinnon incident with official

Looks like no fine or suspension for Nathan MacKinnon incident with official

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - FEBRUARY 16: Nathan MacKinnon #29 of the Colorado Avalanche waits for a faceoff in the third period of a game against the Vegas Golden Knights at T-Mobile Arena on February 16, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Avalanche defeated the Golden Knights 2-0. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

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UPDATE: The NHL released this statement on Tuesday afternoon confirming no punishment for MacKinnon:

In an odd moment during the Bruins’ 5-1 over the Avalanche, Nathan MacKinnon seemingly whiffed on a slash at Tomas Nosek, only to make contact with NHL linesman Michael Cormier. Or did he?

Frankly, it’s not easy to tell. DNVR’s Nathan Rudolph put together a “frame by frame” replay of MacKinnon’s would-be slash (attempted at Nosek, perhaps not connecting with an NHL official?), and claimed that MacKinnon merely struck the ice.

Twitter user Michael Ryan shared the footage of MacKinnon whiffing at Nosek/slashing Cormier/missing both and hitting the ice, via NESN’s telecast:

No fine or suspension for Nathan MacKinnon for possible incident with NHL official

Whether MacKinnon actually connected with a slash or not, it appears it will stop there. (Aside from those who love the freeze frame just about anything, Zapruder-film-style.)

Nick Kypreos reports that MacKinnon won’t face a fine or suspension for whatever did or did not happen with that NHL official. According to Kypreos, “hockey operations have investigated it with officials and all concluded zero intent” and no further review will be needed.

Being that the Bruins were involved, there were a few “if Brad Marchand did this he’d be banned for life"-type reactions. Frankly, this may fit comfortably in the category of things Marchand frequently gets away with. Don’t let that interrupt a good gripe, though, it feels good.

Somewhere, Antoine Vermette might be grumbling. You may recall his 10-game suspension for abuse of an official back in 2017, when his career was winding down.

Granted, Vermette drew an immediate whistle from the official, while things were fuzzier with MacKinnon? Thinking too deeply about this leaves you vulnerable to brain worms.

Busy times for MacKinnon

Assuming Kypreos’ report stands, that means Nathan MacKinnon’s last bit of supplemental discipline fittingly happened on April Fools’ Day 2021. In case you forgot, MacKinnon received a $5K fine for throwing Conor Garland’s helmet at Garland. Yes, it was amusing:

Sort of hockey’s answer to “Nobody makes me bleed my own blood.” Well, aside from maybe someone thinking they drew a four-minute high-sticking penalty, only to realize there was no infraction at all because it was their own stick catching them up high? Anyway ...

Zooming in a bit, it’s been a turbulent couple months for MacKinnon. Beyond entering COVID protocol, MacKinnon was injured by a hard, unlucky hit by Taylor Hall, which didn’t draw a fine or suspension.

Recently, MacKinnon avoided a fine or suspension for a questionable hit on Nolan Patrick:

Among other things, we can come away with an observation. While Nathan MacKinnon comes from a cold place and plays for a team that uses frosty imagery, he has very little chill. That goes for when he’s falling on the bench with anger at his coach, or waging a war on carbs.

That lack of chill might cost him a few Lady Byng votes down the line.

All of that said, at least MacKinnon can chill and be a giant goober in very Canadian commercials with Sidney Crosby. Assuming no one hands MacKinnon a donut, of course.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.