There is a kneeing epidemic sweeping across the NHL.
Days after the NHL's department of player safety suspended Winnipeg's Neal Pionk two games for intentionally kneeing Toronto's Rasmus Sandin, George Parros is back at it again, this time handing down a $5,000 fine to Carolina's Ian Cole for laying an inadvertent knee on forward Mark Schiefele during Tuesday's contest between the Hurricanes and Jets.
The fine is the maximum allowable under the CBA, and the first given to Cole since he was forced to pay $5,000 in April of 2018 for tripping.
This is not new behavior from Cole. In fact, the veteran defender has quietly built up a history of troubling knee-related infractions over the past few years.
The 32-year-old's rap sheet features two particularly dangerous hits within recent memory, one to the Islanders' Brock Nelson on Dec. 18th, 2018, and the other to the Ducks' Devin Shore on Mar. 4th, 2019, evading suspension and supplemental discipline on both occasions.
Cole's repeated urge to use his knee as a weapon makes today's lenient ruling all the more peculiar, especially given that it comes so soon after Pionk and Jason Spezza were given two- and six-game suspensions, respectively, for knee-related incidents.
Once again, NHL player safety stands as a shining bastion of consistency.