NHL rules out Chara's defence

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 12:36 PM ET

The Senators have learned the hard way about the NHL's new instigator rule.

While you can argue there's a double-standard -- and there always has been -- that hasn't stopped NHL VP Colin Campbell from upholding a one-game suspension to defenceman Zdeno Chara and a $10,000 fine for coach Bryan Murray.

The sanctions stem from Chara's fight with Kings defenceman Tim Gleason late in the Senators' 5-1 victory Friday night at the Corel Centre. Chara was assessed an instigator penalty in the last five minutes of the game, resulting in the suspension under the new rule.

SENS LOSE CASE

Campbell didn't buy the Senators' argument that the incident should have been treated like the one in Phoenix earlier this year, when Coyotes forward Shane Doan and coach Wayne Gretzky were spared the punishment for a similar infraction.

Instead, Chara won't play tomorrow night against the Florida Panthers in the Sunshine State and the Senators will have to pay Murray's hefty fine.

Sources say Campbell might have considered waiving the penalty if Chara hadn't lined up as a left winger ahead of Vaclav Varada before the tussle with Gleason.

That decision, according to sources, was the last straw for Campbell.

Plus, Chara doesn't fight very often but is considered by many in the league to be a heavyweight and, thus, he has a reputation.

STANDING TALL

The good news for the Senators was that they stood up for themselves in the penalty-filled game and Chara defended his teammate, Chris Kelly, who earlier battled Kings tough guy Jeff Cowan.

The Senators didn't let the Kings just walk all over them and the $10,000 might be a small price to pay if it means the club is going to get more respect.

But, even though the Senators are among the league's elite, they sometimes have to remember they're not going to be treated like that by Campbell and Co., when these incidents reach the NHL office.

The rules might be standardized, but there's a different set for when it comes to handing out fines and suspensions.

bruce.garrioch@ott.sunpub.com


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