Boston Bruins tough guy Shawn Thornton was fined $2,820.52 by the NHL for unsportsmanlike conduct. The conduct in question came at the 19:13 mark of the third period in Saturday's Game 5 between the Bruins and Montreal Canadiens. While P.K. Subban skated near the Bruins' bench, Thornton squirted water in Subban's face in the middle of play. Thornton appeared pretty pleased with himself about it, too.
Subban was irate and after the play was blown dead, he went back to have a few words with Thornton and faked like he was going to spear the Bruins forward. Cameras caught Thornton laughing at Subban rather gleefully. Subban also argued with officials to call a penalty to no avail.
Subban had scored on a blistering shot minutes prior to that incident and has been all over the Bruins this series. He is a marked man as a result and guys like Thornton will do whatever they can to get in the skill players' heads.
The $2,820.52 fine is the maximum permitted under the collective bargaining agreement according to the NHL. So this is probably the most expensive water fight in some time. Thornton probably will be more than happy to pay the fine knowing that he was able to rattle the Canadiens' best player this postseason.
That doesn't make what he did right, though. Spraying water seems harmless, but a player from the bench interfering with a player on the ice in any way is worthy of some kind of punishment. Even though it seems like a little thing, it shouldn't happen. There's not a ton the NHL can do beyond the fine, though. At least they did something.
Thornton won't care. That's what he has to do. He got only 6:44 of ice time in Game 5 and has been lightly used throughout the playoffs. He has a role to knock other players off their game. Even if it doesn't really affect Subban in a meaningful way, Thornton proved that he can get him riled up at least. Expect more of the same from the Bruins forward. Maybe it won't be water from the bench next time, but he'l try to continue to prove he has Subban's number.