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Malkin's misconduct could've been costly

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Monday, June 1, 2009

The wild exchange of punches between star centers Evgeni Malkin and Henrik Zetterberg with 19 seconds remaining in Detroit's 3-1 victory over the Penguins in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final Sunday night could have proved costly for the NHL playoff scoring leader and Hart Trophy finalist.

Where the Red Wings' star got a five-minute major penalty for fighting, Malkin drew two minutes for instigating, five for fighting and a 10-minute misconduct.

Under NHL Rule 47.22, "a player who is deemed to be the instigator of an altercation in the final five minutes or at any time in overtime shall be suspended for one game, pending a review of the incident."

After reviewing the incident, NHL senior vice president and director of hockey operations Colin Campbell said none of the criteria applied.

"Suspensions are applied under this rule when a team attempts to send a message in the last five minutes by having a player instigate a fight," Campbell said in a statement. "A suspension could also be applied when a player seeks retribution for a prior incident. Neither was the case here and therefore the one game suspension is rescinded."

NHL Hockey Operations also determined that Malkin should have been assessed a game misconduct for not having his jersey tied down.

The scrap started when Detroit G Chris Osgood trapped Malkin's 42-foot slap shot between his left arm and his ribcage, and Penguins LW Maxime Talbot poked at the puck with his stick. A Detroit player grabbed Talbot in a headlock, and Malkin and Zetterberg soon started trading blows.

"In the playoffs and finals like this, there is a lot of emotions, a lot of feelings," Zetterberg said. "When you get scrums, that's the way it is. It should be a lot of feelings, and nothing more than that."

Malkin wasn't available for interviews afterward, but his teammates supported his actions and don't believe he should be punished.

"There's nothing wrong with that," Penguins RW Bill Guerin said. "A couple guys like that going, that's all right. Two stars like that, it's fine. It's not like it's a tough guy on a star."

(No offense, fellas).

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