A few weeks ago Nashville Predators forward Rich Clune got his first NHL goal. This week he hit another milestone: his first NHL fine.
Clune was fined for a hit he put on Colorado forward Aaron Palushaj during Monday’s 6-5 loss to the Avalanche. During the game he was called for boarding and served two minutes in the penalty box.
This is the first time Rich Clune has been subject to supplementary discipline by the NHL. The maximum fine levied by the league against a first-time offender is $10,000 or half of one day’s salary, whichever is less. In Clune’s case it’s the latter, which comes out to $1,452.70. (If there’s a conclusion to be drawn from the size of the fine and the seriousness of the infraction, I’ll let you do the work yourself.)
Clune displayed this kind of reckless aggression during his earliest days with the Nashville Predators, who claimed him off waivers at the beginning of this season after he was dropped by the Los Angeles Kings. In fact, the first minor penalty he took as a Predator was a two-minute boarding minor on a very similar play against the St. Louis Blues’ Scott Nichol, back on January 21st.
In the past few weeks it seemed as if Rich Clune had cleaned his game up before the hit on Palushaj. He had become a fairly effective presence on Barry Trotz’ hard-forechecking fourth line and even scored a game-winning goal, the first of his career, against the Blues on February 5th. But there’s little doubt that this already dangerous play was made more dangerous by Clune’s approach to it:
What do you think? Is Clune likely to heed the warning given to him by the NHL for this play? If he does, can he be effective on the fourth line given that his natural style seems at odds with avoiding dangerous plays?