Kevin Shattenkirk of the Boston Bruins

Kevin Shattenkirk of the Boston Bruins


Kevin Shattenkirk of the Boston Bruins

They say “Don’t poke the bear.” Turns out poking Penguins is also unadvisable.

The NHL fined Boston Bruins defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk with the maximum possible fine for unsportsmanlike conduct, set at $2,734.38, after he poked a Pittsburgh Penguins forward Michael Bunting from the bench on Saturday, April 13.

The incident happened near the end of the first period with just 13 seconds left when Bunting skated near the Bruins’ bench and Shattenkirk made clear contact with him poking the Penguins forward from the bench with his stick.

The league’s Department of Player Safety announced the fine on Sunday, stating it was “the maximum allowable under the Collective Bargaining Agreement, for unsportsmanlike conduct.” The money will be directed to the NHL Player’s Assistance Fund.

Michael Bunting Was Poked for Causing Bruins’ Goalie to Fall Over

It’s fair to say Shattenkirk’s action was far from violent. However, players on the bench are not allowed to interfere with players on the ice in any way, thus the fine Shattenkirk received from the NHL.

As it was pointed out after the game and once the fine was officially announced, the poke happened in retaliation for Buntin’s action on Bruins’ goaltender Linus Ullmark a few seconds earlier in the game.

Bunting made non-incidental contact with Ullmark causing the netminder to fall over (h/t Michael Sullivan). Shortly after, he skated past the Bruins bench and that is when Shattenkirk extended his stick onto the ice and struck Bunting with it.

Shattenkirk let reporters know before the game that the Bruins were entering a tough battle against the Penguins, who were still in the fight for a playoff berth before losing to Boston.

Kevin Shattenkirk on tonight’s #NHLBruins matchup against the Penguins: “We have to match their desperation. It gives us a good idea of what playoff hockey’s gonna be like in a couple days. I think it allows us to hopefully get to our game and see that intensity level.”

“We have to match their desperation,” Shattenkirk told reporters before the game on April 13. “It gives us a good idea of what playoff hockey’s gonna be like in a couple days. I think it allows us to hopefully get to our game and see that intensity level.”

Bruins Beat Penguins But Depend on Others to Earn No. 1 Seed

With no penalties called on either Bunting or Shattenkirk, both players were allowed to remain in the game until its conclusion.

The Bruins went on to beat the Penguins 6-4 with Shattenkirk taking a role in Boston’s power-play unit and scoring the 3-1 goal that started to seal the win for his team midway through the second period.

Kevin Shattenkirk picks the corner with a beautiful shot, putting Boston back up by 2!


The Penguins’ attempt at a comeback was good but ultimately short-circuited by Boston, who limited Pittsburgh to getting no closer than 4-3 fewer than five minutes into the third period. Two goals by the Bruins followed and the Penguins added a final, meaningless one about one minute from the final horn.

The win moved Boston back to the No. 1 seed in the Atlantic Division as they overtook the Florida Panthers with one game in hand over the latter. The Bruins have 109 points in 80 games to Florida’s 108 in 81.

The Bruins still have to play the Washington Capitals (87 points in 80 games, No. 2 wild-card spot) on the road and will finish their regular season by hosting the Ottawa Senators (76 points, already eliminated from contention).

Even if the Bruins win those two games, they wouldn’t get better seeding in the Eastern Conference unless the New York Rangers lose their season finale on Monday against the Senators, and the Carolina Hurricanes also drop points in their final game.

The Rangers lead the Metropolitan Division and the Eastern Conference as a whole with 112 points in 81 games. The Hurricanes have 111 points in 81 games too with the Canes facing the lowly Columbus Blue Jackets in their finale on Wednesday.

Antonio Losada covers the NHL for A veteran sports writer based in Spain, Antonio has covered the NBA, NFL and soccer for over 10 years, with bylines at SB Nation, FanSided, Yahoo Sports, FanGraphs, RotoBaller and more. He has also been nominated for multiple FSWA awards, including Fantasy Football Writer of the Year and DFS Writer of the Year. More about Antonio Losada

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