For the first nine seasons of his career, Lightning captain Steven Stamkos never received a fine from the league.
Not that Stamkos won any Lady Byng Trophies, given to the player with the best sportsmanship and "gentlemanly qualities." But Stamkos, 28, isn't considered a dirty player.
So that Stamkos was levied his second fine of the season Wednesday was noteworthy.
"Puzzling, to say the least," Stamkos said.
Stamkos got docked $5,000, the maximum allowed under the collective bargaining agreement, for what the league called a "dangerous trip" on the Maple Leafs' Morgan Rielly during the second period of Tuesday's 4-3 win.
Stamkos got an elbowing penalty on the play, which didn't look awful on replays.
Stamkos fined $5K for this dangerous trip on Morgan Rielly. pic.twitter.com/PEUrIIsYwB— Flintor (@TheFlintor) March 21, 2018
Stamkos declined to comment on the play and fine. His other $5,000 fine came in a water-bottle squirting incident in November against the Rangers.
Rielly told Canadian media Wednesday that Stamkos isn't a dirty player. "It's just what happens sometimes," he said.
The penalty gave Stamkos a Lightning-most 53 penalty minutes, which would probably surprise most people. Yanni Gourde is second with 48, Victor Hedman third with 42.
"It's kind of the ongoing joke I keep telling the team, 'Guys it's embarrassing I have the most penalty minutes on the team,' " Stamkos said Wednesday.
Stamkos pointed out 17 of those minutes came in one game Feb 24 against Montreal (including a 10-minute misconduct after a fight). "So (my penalty minutes) are a little bit exaggeration."
But it's more reflective of the way the team is built; the Lightning ranks 12th in penalty minutes.
"We're not a team that has that big fighter," Stamkos said, "or the guy that's going to go out and put out 100-200 penalty minutes."
Show and go
With the latest nor'easter hitting the East Coast, the Lightning had to change its travel plans for Thursday's game against the Islanders. Its charter flight was scheduled to leave Wednesday afternoon, but the Lightning decided to leave Thursday morning instead.
Teams usually arrive in road cities the day/night before a game. Instead, Tampa Bay practiced Wednesday.
"It brings us back to September," coach Jon Cooper said. "It's something that to be honest, probably most of the players in this league have done this, whether you're playing in junior or American League, it's a lot of day travel. It's not something that's common for obvious reasons. But just as recently as preseason, we do this all the time. Ultimately it's about getting there safe. It's just weird being a Florida team having to deal with winter weather as an obstacle. But it happens."