Mat Barzal fined for grabbing Mitch Marner from bench
(Screenshot/ Sportsnet)

Mat Barzal didn’t want to let go of Mitch Marner. And now he’s paying the price for it.

New York Islanders’ forward Mat Barzal has been fined $2,500 for unsportsmanlike conduct against Toronto Maple Leafs’ forward Mitch Marner. The incident took place in a game on Easter Sunday at Scotiabank Arena.

Barzal grabbed onto the jersey of Marner from the bench and didn’t let go for a few seconds. Marner had to use some force to escape the grasp of Barzal and get back into the play. There was no interference penalty called for the grab.

After the game, Marner joked about the grab from Barzal. “Hopefully he gets fined for that, that would be great,” Marner said. It should be noted that Barzal and Marner are friends and have played on the same team together before making it to the NHL.

Marner’s sarcastic wish ended up coming true, as the NHL fined Barzal the following morning. Here’s the statement from the NHL Department of Player Safety:

“New York Islanders forward Mathew Barzal has been fined $2,500 for unsportsmanlike conduct during NHL Game No. 723 in Toronto on Sunday, April 17, the National Hockey League’s Department of Player Safety announced today. The incident occurred at 15:48 of the third period. The money goes to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.”

It may seem silly to fine a player for something harmless like a jersey grab, but the NHL doesn’t allow any interference from the bench. Dallas Stars captain Jamie Benn was fined $5,000 earlier this season for squirting Chicago forward MacKenzie Entwistle with water from the bench.

The Islanders were officially eliminated from playoff contention Monday, so Barzal was likely frustrated and wanted to have some fun with his friend Marner.

There are certainly more egregious things a player can do from the bench, but the NHL doesn’t want to set a precedent by picking and choosing what type of bench actions warrant discipline.

Considering Barzal makes $7 million a year, this $2,500 fine is unlikely to leave a major dent in his wallet.