Should the NHL fine a Canadian hockey player for insulting Panarin?

Sometimes words hurt more than actions. For this reason, in the regular season match between Boston and Rangers, an explosion of emotions uncharacteristic for Panarin happened. In a fit of rage, he threw the gauntlet at Bruins forward Brad Marchand.

This incident immediately came to the fore, overshadowing the result of the match. What did Marchand say?

“We discussed what we ate on Thanksgiving and he didn't like my lunch option,” the Canadian explained after the match. Of course, this was just irony on the part of Marchand, who is known for his ability to piss off his rival.

In 2018, he made it into the habit of licking rivals in order to provoke. Ryan Callahan from Tampa and Leo Komarov from Toronto were unlucky then. Head Coach “Lighting” John Cooper was indignant at the press conference: “How will you feel if I walk over and lick you? This is totally unacceptable! I do not understand this!”.

Brad Marchand / Photo: © Steve Babineau / Contributor / National Hockey League /

This antics, mixed with dirty tricks like the 2019 Marshand hit to the head from behind at Columbus' Scott Harrington, made him the league's most hated hockey player outside of Boston. During his long career in the NHL, the Canadian striker has missed more than 20 matches due to his unsportsmanlike behavior and has promised to improve several times so as not to harm the team. For the 13th season in the NHL, it's hard to believe that he will once improve.

Photo: © Icon Sportswire / Contributor / Icon Sportswire /

The day after the incident, Panarin told his version of what happened. According to him, Marchand mentioned Russia. “I didn't really understand what he specifically said, but it was pronounced in a way that could not be good,” said the Rangers forward. – It was then that I lost my head and could not control myself. When you touch the country, it’s completely different. I think every Russian would like to defend their homeland. “

According to North American media reports, Marchand told Panarin that no one in Russia loves him. According to another version, he recalled to the Russian the accusations of beating a girl, with which Andrei Nazarov spoke last year. Perhaps the nuances in this case are not so important, because Marchand obviously crossed the line of trash-current – insults familiar to many sports, going to the individual. Panarin also has something to say to this: “In recent years, trash talk has been very popular,” he said. – How can we remain human and, more importantly, role models for children? I think this is very important, so there must be a balance. “

Meanwhile, hockey fans on social media urged the NHL to be objective and not make Panarin alone the culprit in this situation. The piquancy of the episode is given by the fact that under a contract with an American TV channel in this match, Marchand played with a microphone. At each meeting, TV crews attach audio lapels to several players for a deeper immersion in the atmosphere of hockey. In this situation, the release of audio Marchand could have a very important mission – to reveal the essence of his offensive words and, if they are really xenophobic, to punish.

But that was not the case: according to the agreement between the NHL and the players' union, the published record is not valid. Only insults heard by the referee or representatives of the broadcasting company can be used as a basis for accusations of unsportsmanlike conduct. However, there is no point in talking about this, because, according to TV people, they do not save audio recordings from matches.

Frank insults, confirmed by the participants in the match, do not pass by the NHL. So, four years ago, Anaheim captain Ryan Getzlaf was fined $ 10,000 for making a homophobic remark to the referee during the Stanley Cup semifinal game with Nashville.

Ryan Getzlaf / Photo: © Sean M. Haffey / Staff / Getty Images Sport /

The Canadian tried to justify himself by saying that he did not want to offend anyone, but rather swore aloud. However, he admitted that he should use as little vulgar vocabulary as possible on the ice. A similar accusation had been made against Wayne Simmonds of Philadelphia several years earlier, but there was not enough evidence of unsportsmanlike behavior, that is, witnesses.

At the same time, some organizations, for example, the US Ice Hockey Federation, have recently tightened the punishment for racist and other derogatory statements in junior-level matches. They will now be automatically punished with a five-minute fine, skipping the next game, and disqualification pending an official hearing of the incident.

It turns out that in this episode, Marchand will escape punishment. However, the Rangers contacted the NHL about his antics, officially expressing dissatisfaction with his behavior. It is unlikely that this will lead to anything, but the haters of the Canadian are glad that he at least got what he deserved. And Panarin paid not so much for an act that would bring considerable satisfaction to many: “If I had the opportunity to throw a glove at Marchand for 0.0431 percent of my salary, I would also use it”.

  • “Thanks to the Rangers for making me $ 11.6 million this season” – Panarin on the unsporting behavior penalty

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