T.J. Oshie has been fined $5,000 for cross checking Pittsburgh's Kris Letang—and the Caps winger is not at all happy about the punishment or the fact that it’s tough for players to distinguish a clean play from one that’s deemed questionable by the league.
“I was very surprised,” Oshie said after Saturday's practice in Arlington. “I looked at it; I got it sent to me. And it’s just…I guess I don’t see what the…I agree it’s a penalty, but I don’t look down and target.”
Here’s the play:
The fine is the maximum allowed under the CBA. It also marks the first time in Oshie’s 10-year NHL career that he’s received supplementary discipline from the league.
Oshie was notified of the fine via a text message from GM Brian MacLellan on Saturday morning.
Oshie said he was told the NHL’s issue with the play is that he appeared to target Letang’s head—a claim he disputes.
“First of all, I don’t hit his head, so I don’t know what replay or secret camera they had,” he said. “I saw the replays they sent me and, for once, the announcers got it right. I got him in the back of the [trapezius muscle] and the neck.”
He added: “It’s hard to figure out what you’re going to get fined and suspended for and what you’re not.”
Oshie was making reference to the hit San Jose’s Joe Thornton laid on him back on Dec. 4. The hit was late, Thornton’s backside made contact with Oshie’s head and the star winger missed the next six games with a concussion. Thornton did not receive any punishment.
“I don’t want to get my emotions too much into it, but I got a concussion a little over a month ago after I got hit,” Oshie said. “I don’t know what the norm is; you get like .8 seconds or something. I got hit close to four seconds after I had the puck.”
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On the play Friday, Oshie said he took exception to Letang throwing a couple of punches at his head.
“Last night Letang got two free shots at my face—one sucker punch [so] I dropped the gloves,” he said. “Apparently he didn’t want to [fight]. And then he got another one in once the ref came in. It’s a little frustrating.”
“Hopefully [the system] changes or we figure out a way to get some consistency,” he continued. “It seems like it depends on who the hitter is, how many games they’ve played and who they play for.”
Coach Barry Trotz didn’t have too much to say about Oshie’s fine or the play that led to it, but you don’t have to read between the lines to figure out what side he comes down on.
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