MONTREAL -- Jason Spezza and the Senators have avoided a suspension and fine, but coach Bryan Murray isn't happy there was even a possibility of the punishment.
Spezza took an instigating penalty in the final five minutes of Saturday's 8-2 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs -- retaliation for being speared by Carlo Colaiacovo -- and under new NHL rules was in danger of being suspended for one game.
Because Senators defenceman Zdeno Chara committed a similar crime earlier this season, Murray was on the hook for a $20,000 fine, double the usual charge.
The league opted against added penalties, clearly taking Spezza's basically clean reputation into consideration.
"I don't like the rule," Murray said yesterday. "I always thought the NHL rule was very good ... the hockey operations people had discretion, they know when people are sent out or not sent out (to fight), they know when a coach is involved and when a player is going overboard. To put an automatic fine in, to have an automatic suspension ... now we find it's not automatic, it's totally discretion. I wasn't very happy after the game.
"To have to worry about losing one of your best players to a suspension and paying a fine which wasn't $10,000 any more, it's doubled with each incident ... doesn't seem right or fair."