It was one of those plays that really didn’t need to happen.
Not with seven minutes left to go in a game where the outcome had no bearing on anything past, present or future for the Flyers.
More importantly, it was one of those things Flyers coach Craig Berube talked about -- even warned about -- after Saturday’s feisty 4-3 overtime win in Pittsburgh:
Keep your emotions in check. It will be pivotal in the playoffs.
Scott Hartnell got into a third period altercation with Carolina’s Brett Bellemore and ended up spearing him, drawing a five-minute major and game misconduct.
That will get an automatic look from the NHL for possible disciplinary action.
Hartnell and Bellemore had mixed it up earlier in the third period and tensions rose later in what would eventually become a 6-5 shootout loss to the Hurricanes (see Instant Replay).
The spearing incident touched off a brief skirmish with all players on the ice locking up with an opponent.
“I was going to the net and got slashed on the wrist,” Hartnell said. “I turned around, I stuck the guy, and there was a little bit of a melee. Those things happen. I was just trying to make something happen for us.”
Berube admitted he's concern that this will draw attention from the league. But the larger concern, again, is what’s ahead. This was a play that can’t happen on Thursday at Madison Square Garden when the Flyers face the New York Rangers in Game 1 of the playoffs.
“Yeah, that's part of it,” Berube said. “In my opinion, you have to keep your emotions in check and you can't become a loose cannon out there. You have to play the right way. You have to be intense, but you have to be smart.”
Hartnell admitted being a little antsy, as the league doesn’t always make a quick ruling. He’s also been suspended in the past.
While this wasn’t a match penalty and there was no serious injury involved, the wild card here is that there is a new Lord of Discipline who just succeeded Brendan Shanahan -- Stephane Quintal, who has already taken over the league’s Department of Player Safety.
Quintal hasn’t even been on the job a week. He might seek to make a statement as to how stern he’ll be with offenses that come across his desk.
Or he could look at this as a heat-of-the-moment incident with no harm done and give Hartnell a mere fine. Or nothing at all.
That’s the unknown for Hartnell.
“They review all five-minute penalties,” Hartnell said. “I am sure they are looking at it to see if there is something.
“Obviously, it wasn’t the smartest thing to do, especially going into the playoffs. Definitely, I didn’t try to hurt the guy, definitely, it wasn’t very hard [the spear], anyway.”
Berube said he was going to go back into his office and look at the play again, himself.