Stars’ Roussel fined maximum for sucker punch

Brent Burns scored twice in the third period to give the Sharks a lead, spoiling Tyler Seguin's hat-trick for the Stars. Joe Thornton added an empty-netter and the Sharks won 5-3.

Dallas Stars agitator Antoine Roussel was fined $5,376.34 Monday by the NHL’s player safety department for delivering a sucker-punch to the face of San Jose Sharks defenceman Justin Braun.

Late in Saturday’s 5-3 loss to the Sharks, the Dallas forward clipped San Jose goaltender Alex Stalock, who was in the process of batting the puck out of play. A scrum ensued.

When an official had Braun’s arms tied down in attempt to break up the scuffle, Roussel delivered a fist to the defenceman’s face:

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Roussel, 24, was given a minor penalty for goaltender interference as well as a game misconduct. His fine meets the maximum a player can be charged for his offence, according to the collective bargaining agreement. The money goes to the players’ emergency assistance fund.

“You know what disappoints me is when a guy’s vulnerable and being held and he gets punched. That’s the disappointing thing,” Sharks coach Todd McLellan told reporters. “I don’t think anybody in our league, the 750 players and coaches, want to see that. Just not a classy move.”

Stars coach Lindy Ruff, however, defended his player.

“That kid [Roussel] gives me everything. That was just emotion,” Ruff told reporters. “We still had the power play. We pulled our goalie, and we still had the power play. He was laying down blocking shots, he was in front of the net for the power play and he was trying hard. That was just emotion, and you can’t criticize [that].”

Roussel has eight points and 43 penalty minutes through 14 games with the struggling Stars, now last place in the Central Division.

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