Now that should read, fined for cross-checking Michael Bunting in the head.
Sheldon Keefe expressed the opinion that it was very similar to this:
And that's true to a point. The Matthews - Dahlin incident is one where they trade equal attacks and then Matthews raises the stakes with a cross-check to the head. In the Bennett-Bunting case, aside from it being the playoffs, it's a case of Bennett wanting to clear Bunting from the crease and just going straight for his cranium.
What to think of this? Well, it amounts to this, I figure: the NHL does not want to take the second-best forward on the Panthers off the ice in the playoffs. So, much like Cale Makar got off easy for his hit, Bennett isn't going to pay more than the token fines the CBA allows for what he did.
One other thing that's really obvious – some parts of the head are treated differently to others. The NHL seems to have a view that hits around the ear aren't as bad as a conk on the head – you know, the part protected by the helmet.
Once again, what the NHL chooses to consider as serious infractions isn't going to pass a logic or fairness test. And it only seems random because the people deciding how the NHL penalizes players have wildly different values and world views to most of us fans.
Bottom line for me: I want head hits (your ear is on your head) out of the NHL, and intentional head hits should be the easy ones to clean up. Bennett should be suspended. But the NHL values other things more. Getting change from the league (the owners, who can then put pressure on Gary Bettman) requires them to see a benefit to the change. And so far, it's been very difficult to make them see their interests align with something normal people might call player safety.
The other thing about this that does actually baffle me is that I think the NHL really hates diving because it looks cheap and tawdry and (to them) unmasculine, which is the worst sin any player can commit. But what else is the freebie shot after the arm goes up other than a cheap shot and an attempt to get away with something? For whatever reason, that doesn't have the same weight of negativity to it as diving.