Since Walker's one-man fight earned an instigator penalty in the final minutes of the game, he was automatically suspended for one game and his coach was fined $10,000 as mandated by league rules. Except the rule also allows the league to rescind that automatic suspension, which sort of the negates the purpose of the word "automatic." Instead, Ward got a $2,500 fine and will be in the lineup when his team tries to put away Boston at home on Tuesday night. Bruins coach Claude Julien is so put out right now:
"In reviewing what I saw, I just didn't like what happened. I just don't think there was any need for that. He sucker-punched him once coming into the scrum when [Ward] was involved with another player. He dropped his gloves and sucker-punched him. I don't care what people say about Ward should have protected himself. He had no intentions of getting involved. We asked our guys to stay composed and not fall into that trap. He did just that. A guy with Walker's experience should know better than to sucker-punch a guy."
Walker told the league that he thought he was in the middle of the fight, so it doesn't really matter that Ward didn't agree with that assessment and allowed himself to get clocked in the face. Ward will travel to Carolina for Game 6, but will likely be a game-time decision. Head on a swivel, kids! (Preferably a swivel with an airbag.)
Testing continues for Ward [Boston Globe]
Walker states his case, avoids suspension for Ward punch [Puck Daddy]