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Travis Hamonic Suspended 1 Game for Late Instigator on Ryan Carter

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Twenty-four seconds is the difference between ho-hum and $30,000 in fines for player and coach.

Wind back the clock! Wind back the clock!
Wind back the clock! Wind back the clock!
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The NHL has a rule (46.22) that automatically issues a one-game suspension for instigating a fight in the final five minutes of regulation. It's intended to prevent players from gooning it up when a game is already out of hand.

Saturday afternoon's 6-1 loss to the New Jersey Devils was certainly out of hand when New York Islanders defenseman Travis Hamonic instigated a (unreciprocated) fight with Ryan Carter, but gooning it up in garbage time -- it was 5-1 at the time -- wasn't quite what Hamonic had in mind.

Rather, he was going after Carter in response to Carter's legal but predatory hit on Hamonic's longtime defensive partner Andrew MacDonald. MacDonald was already tied up with another Devils forward when Carter made his run at MacDonald.

Seeing the sequence, Hamonic went after Carter and took all the penalties: Five minutes for fighting, two minutes for instigating, a 10-minute misconduct and a game misconduct.

By rule, he is also suspended for Sunday afternoon's game and will forfeit $19,780.22 in salary, while coach Jack Capuano has been fined $10,000.

Of course, the incident happened at 15:23 of the period. Had it all happened just 24 seconds earlier, it would be just another day in the NHL.