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Jared Spurgeon avoids suspension for nasty cross-check: 'That’s not the player I am'

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Jared Spurgeon was lucky to escape with just a fine after a dirty cross-check in Game 1.
Jared Spurgeon was lucky to escape with just a fine after a dirty cross-check in Game 1.

Minnesota Wild captain Jared Spurgeon was fined $5,000 after cross-checking St. Louis Blues forward c Monday during Game 1 of their first-round playoff series.

Spurgeon, quite frankly, was lucky to avoid further discipline and spoke to the media Tuesday, where he self-reflected on the uncharacteristic play.

"Just got a little frustrated. Just happy he’s alright. That was something that I usually don’t do. That’s not the player I am. Not very happy with myself to say the least,” Spurgeon said via Dane Mizutani of the Pioneer Press.

St. Louis pummelled Minnesota 4-0 and it evidently took a toll on Spurgeon. During the final two minutes of the contest, Spurgeon cross-checked Buchnevich in the back of his leg after the two players got tangled up while fighting for a loose puck.

Here is the play in question, and we’ll let you be the judge:

Perhaps Spurgeon’s sterling reputation within league circles was factored in. The 32-year-old is rarely penalized and is known for his gentlemanly approach to the game. This is the first sanction of any kind during his 12-year career.

“We were frustrated last night. We took some bad penalties. That’s a bad penalty. He knows it," Wild head coach Dean Evason said Tuesday. "When Jared Spurgeon does something like that, it means your group is off-kilter a little bit. So they’ll rein it back in and he’ll be the guy to do it.”

The NHL revamped its playoff format in 2013-14 in an effort to conjure up divisional rivalries between the second- and third-seeded teams, perhaps to broaden the game’s marketability in certain U.S. regions. There doesn’t need to be any artificial hostility, however, when you have plays like Spurgeon’s during Game 1.

Game 2 of what should be a hotly contested series between the Blues and Wild goes Wednesday.

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