However you feel about the incident between Boston Bruins forward Nathan Horton and Tampa Bay Lightning fans, it sounds like there won’t be a fine or suspension to come from the situation. Damian Cristodero reports that NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said he “doesn’t expect any action of any kind” for Horton or the Lightning organization.
The closest example of “precedent” for the situation was John Tortorella’s one-game suspension for his water bottle-related blow-up with a Washington Capitals fan. Tortorella missed Game 6 of that 2009 series and the New York Rangers went on to lose the series in seven games.
There are some differences between the situation – differences in clarity of the video evidence, importance of the game and the fact that one culprit being a player vs. a coach are examples that come to mind – but there are enough similarities that many people might be upset about the decision.
Horton might not be a balanced two-way forward, but his big body and hard shot make him a significant presence in the Bruins lineup. The former Florida Panthers winger already has one Game 7 overtime game-winner on his resume from Boston’s first round series against the Montreal Canadiens. Horton has also been highly productive during the Eastern Conference finals, scoring two goals and four assists for six points in six games against the Lightning.
Now, Daly’s full comment was: “Based on what I know now, I don’t expect any action of any kind,” so maybe there’s a chance the league might take another look at the incident. Still, it’s safer to assume that Horton will indeed be in the lineup for what should be a fascinating Game 7 on Friday. We’ll let you know if anything changes, though.