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Panthers’ Chiarot fined, not suspended, for head-butting

Panthers' Chiarot fined, not suspended, for head-butting

OTTAWA, ON - APRIL 28: Florida Panthers Defenceman Ben Chiarot (8) before a face-off during first period National Hockey League action between the Florida Panthers and Ottawa Senators on April 28, 2022, at Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa, ON, Canada. (Photo by Richard A. Whittaker/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

A week ago, Oilers defenseman Darnell Nurse received a one-game suspension for head-butting, leaving Edmonton to face elimination without a key defenseman. A week later, Panthers blueliner Ben Chiarot was fined $5K, but not suspended, for head-butting Lightning forward Ross Colton in Game 1.

Generally speaking, it’s easy to see the difference.

With Nurse, you could argue there was quite a “wind-up” when he head-butted Phillip Danault.

In the case of Chiarot and Colton, it was less dramatic.

That said, during Game 1, Ben Chiarot and the Panthers were quite lucky. For one thing, Chiarot began the exchange by tripping Colton. Judging by this fine, he should have sat in the penalty box longer, possibly even getting a major. Instead, this drew offsetting minors.

Either way, it’s a pretty foolish choice by Chiarot. You may argue that it’s also setting/reinforcing an odd precedent where some head-butts are worse than others. Then again, that’s the NHL for you, right?

In October, Pavel Buchnevich of the St. Louis Blues was suspended two games and Chris Wideman of the Montreal Canadiens sat for one game in January for a similar offense.

Check out this Game 1 recap for some thoughts about how maybe the Panthers should use Chiarot and other defensemen differently going forward.