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NHL tries to crack down on water bottle shenanigans again

Steven Stamkos, Alex Killorn, and Kevin Hayes were each fined $5,000 for their antics Thursday night.

NHL: New York Rangers at Tampa Bay Lightning Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Water bottles are meant for drinking, not for trying to distract your opponents. That’s the message the NHL has tried to send with a series of fines handed to players after the New York Rangers’ 2-1 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday night.

Tampa Bay’s Steven Stamkos and Alex Killorn and New York’s Kevin Hayes were each fined $5,000 for unsportsmanlike conduct during the game. Two of those fines resulted from water bottle-related antics, while the third was the result of retaliation for one of them.

The more notable infractions came in the third period when Hayes squirted his water bottle at Killorn as the Lightning winger stood near the Rangers bench before a faceoff. Killorn responded by swinging his stick into the bench at Hayes, which initiated a brawl between the two teams. Stamkos was also caught squirting a water bottle from the bench during the game.

As our pals over at Blueshirt Banter pointed out, that makes for a very, very expensive water gun fight. At the very least, somebody should’ve whipped out a Super Soaker if they’re going to lose $5,000 anyway.

Hayes did have some fun with it after discovering he was fined:

This is not the first time the NHL has ran into this issue. Back in 2014, Corey Perry could be seen squirting water into Jeff Carter’s glove during a Ducks-Kings playoff game. The same postseason, P.K. Subban complained after Shawn Thornton had squirted water in his face during a Bruins-Canadiens game, which led to Thornton receiving a fine.

Water bottle antics may be funny to watch as fans, but the NHL clearly wants to discourage players from doing so. It’s not exactly safe to try to distract opponents during a fast, physical sport, and it’s a very easily prevented aspect of gamesmanship between teams. If you’re an NHL player and get caught squirting water at an opponent, you’ll pay for it.