The NHL’s Department of Player Safety (DoPS) has been busy to open the 2021-22 season. Their work continued on Tuesday morning as they announced that Florida Panthers forward Joe Thornton has been fined $5,000, the maximum allowable under the CBA, for slashing Tampa Bay Lightning forward Boris Katchouk.
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The incident between Thornton and Katchouk came during the first period of Tuesday night’s game between the Bolts and Panthers. Thornton felt he was given an unnecessary cross-check from behind, and responded with jab to the midsection on Katchouk. The Lightning forward was in clear discomfort at the time but was able to finish the game.
While Thornton certainly isn’t known for being a dirty player, he has shown a fiery side at times throughout his career. At 42 years of age, he still has an incredible passion for the game and that was on display last night. He and his Panthers teammates were able to go on and pick up a 4-1 victory over the back to back Stanley Cup defending champions last night.
After spending the 2020-21 season with the Toronto Maple Leafs, Thornton inked a one-year, $750,000 with the Panthers this summer. He is no where near the same player he once was as father time has taken its toll, but his hockey IQ is still off the charts. On top of that, he is said to be a good guy to have in the locker room, and is a great mentor for a younger centerman in Aleksander Barkov. To this point in his Panthers career he has suited up for three games but has been unable to hit the scoresheet.
With the win last night, the Panthers were able to improve to 3-0-0 on the season. Though they still fail to get the recognition they should, they are an incredible team and proved that in 2020-21, finishing fourth in the entire NHL with a 37-14-5 record for 79 points in 56 games. They are a serious Stanley Cup contender this year, which would be a fantastic story given the fact that despite Thornton’s illustrious career, he has yet to win it all.
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