Is Logan Couture’s Fine Too Lenient?

On Friday, San Jose Sharks forward Logan Couture was fined $5,000 for his slew-foot of Detroit Red Wings defenseman Brendan Smith.

Here’s the play in case you missed it.

Couture was given a two-minute tripping call on the play, and Smith was given a two-minute hooking call.

There’s no doubt Smith’s stick was up in the midsection of Couture, but a slew-foot is a dangerous play, and a $5,000 fine is not a big enough deterrent.

Fine is Too Lenient

Couture’s base salary this season is $6 million, according to Spotrac. So, a $5,000 fine is 0.083 percent of his salary. It’s not a big enough chunk of his salary where it will deter him from doing it again. Couture has no suspension history, but why is the NHL Department of Player Safety so hesitant to suspend players?

Its main goal is to protect the players who play in the NHL, right? Well, the only way you will deter players from performing this dangerous move is with suspensions. Fines won’t do it, especially fines that are this small.

We’ve already seen three slew-foots this season including Couture’s, and the prior two players each received suspensions. Granted, those players were repeat offenders. But I think a one-game suspension would have been enough for Couture.

He hasn’t had a history of fines or suspensions, but this was an egregious act that needs to be nipped to deter him from doing it again. According to’s Ansar Khan, Smith is day to day and could miss today’s game against Nashville. According to the Detroit Free Press’ Helene St. James, Xaiver Ouellet was recalled in case Smith can’t play.

Jamie Been Receives No Discipline

Last Saturday against the Dallas Stars, Henrik Zetterberg got an elbow and a punch to the head by Jamie Benn after Zetterberg tied up the Stars forward.

Zetterberg eventually left the game and missed the team’s last three games in California and will miss the team’s game today against Nashville. In fact, according to SB Nation’s Winging It In Motown, Zetterberg is now listed on the injured reserve list.

Here’s the video of Benn’s punch:

While there is no doubt Zetterberg was holding Benn, it doesn’t warrant him getting an elbow and a fist to the head.

Benn has a history of being fined and probably should have been suspended after throwing this elbow on Matt Cooke last season. The reasoning for no suspension on the Cooke play was Been was defending himself, and DoPS doesn’t see it as a predatory act. Instead, Benn received a warning. Well, elbowing an opposing player and punching him in the head seems awfully predatory.

My biggest gripe with the Department of Player Safety is it bases its fines and suspensions on the severity of the injury. While there have been worse acts than Benn’s punch not called, Zetterberg likely will miss at least four games because of it. If you’re going to base your fines and suspension on time missed, surely that play warranted something.

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Tom Mitsos is a Detroit Red Wings and Grand Rapids Griffins staff writer for The Hockey Writers. You can follow him on Twitter @tom_mitsos.

3 thoughts on “Is Logan Couture’s Fine Too Lenient?”

  1. I’ve now seen two head injuries to Red Wing players on this road trip, with virtually no punishment meted out. Helmer got his head smacked on the dasher by Seth Jones, and is now out of action. Jamie Benn’s attack on Zetterberg was more obvious, and certainly, was a serious series of blows to the head. Whether or not they were engaged during the play is not justification for an elbow and punch to the head. I thought this league was trying to crack down on concussions and head injuries. Where is the discipline now? Only Logan Couture gets a meager $5000 fine for that dangerous slew foot on Brendan Smith. Until I see consistency from this league on injury prevention and punishment, there will be no respect for the administration, and worse, continuing injuries to the players they purport to be protecting.

  2. never have seen couture “appear” to intentionally attemp injure another player – obviously this could be a first much depends on what was said by the ref (im sure they were interviewed) and his on responses im willing to give him the benefit of the doubt its was accidental –

    • The fact Courture’s leg clips Smith’s outside leg rather than his inside leg leads me to believe it was intentional. By nature, if you’re falling backward, your leg would not swing out that far.

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