In a move seemed tailor made to prove their fundamental irrelevance, the NHL’s Department of Player Safety fined Joe Thornton three grand for interference.

The reason he’s fined that weird amount is because it’s based on salary, and his is small this year, however his estimated career earnings is $109,790,643, not counting what he makes playing in Switzerland. Useless isn’t really a strong enough word for this fine system.

When Zach Hyman was uselessly fined, he had to pay the max $5,000.

Zach Hyman fined for high-sticking

Thornton received a minor penalty on the (assumed) play at 7:29 of the third period:

In the same game, Adam Lowry left after a hit from Alex Galchenyuk and never returned.

Freeze framing the two hits can provide endless hours of entertainment trying to figure out why one is a penalty/fine and the other is not.

Prior to this fine, the NHL has levied fines, not suspensions, to 19 players, most are the maximum $5,000 fine. Names on the list include Connor McDavid, Nate MacKinnon, Kailer Yamamoto, Nino Niederreiter, Elias Pettersson and Alexander Ovechkin.

One might draw the conclusion that the useless fines are used to pretend to punish high-status players for things the fourth liner gets a suspension for. There have only been 12 suspensions issued this year. Kevin Fiala and Tom Wilson are the highest profile names on the list.

Whatever the concept of the useless fine system is, it’s unlikely to do much beyond make players laugh. Until they’re the one hit in the head, that is.