BRIERE FINED... FOR NOTHING
That's because NHL disciplinarian Colin Campbell, whose fines and suspensions stagger across the map more than the town drunkard on his way home from the local tavern, slapped Flyers' forward Danny Briere with a $1,000 fine for ... well... nothing.
As Sunday's 3-2 Flyers' win over the New York Rangers was concluding, two Flyers' players - Briere and Scott Hartnell - took a swipe at Rangers' forward Brandon Prust from the bench as Prust skated by.
Already perturbed at the Rangers' guerrilla tactics from earlier in the game - namely Sean Avery ambushing Matt Carle from behind and pummeling the pacifistic Flyers' defenseman in a ... ahem... fight, both players again became incensed after Prust leveled Kimmo Timonen after he cleared the puck from the Flyers' zone, securing the win.
It was a clean check, but it was probably unnecessary considering the time of the game it occurred.
As Prust skated by, first Hartnell, then Briere, took a gloved swipe at Prust. Hartnell clipped Prust in the helmet. Briere got nothing but air.
But Campbell, who seems to have a specific dislike for Briere, levied the fine for the swing and miss but looked past the one that made contact.
If he would answer a question about his decision, he would likely refer to Briere as a repeat offender, which made him subject to the fine, while Hartnell doesn't have that status.
But, Campbell refuses to answer such questions, and told one reporter Monday that what went into the decision was none of the media's business.
The Campbell-Briere tiff has been a discussion all season long.
Briere was suspended three games in November for a blow to the head of New York Islanders forward Franz Nielsen during a late October game.
Many felt the suspension was a little excessive, and Briere expressed his displeasure with Campbell afterward, saying Campbell had his mind made up before he ever spoke to Briere.
Briere was later left off the NHL All-Star roster despite obviously deserving a spot, and hinted that his reputation might have been what kept him off. Campbell was part of the hockey operations committee that decided a majority of the players participating in the game.
Now comes this suspension.
The Flyers released a statement that they would not have any further comment publicly about the fine. However, a team source told me Monday night that they vehemently expressed their displeasure with this latest fine.
Meanwhile, Avery slithered away scott free again despite his snake-like antics.
Briere has now been fined a whopping $239,000 this season by the NHL.
Can't wait for the next punchline... or in this case... phantom punch-line.