As you probably already know, and I just learned at the airport bar while waiting for my flight to Raleigh, the NHL today has rescinded the automatic suspension to Carolina winger Scott Walker and fined him just $2,500 for his sucker punch to the face of Boston’s Aaron Ward in the closing minutes of last night’s Game 5 of the Eastern Conference semifinal series at TD Banknorth Garden.

The Hurricanes, who lead the series 3-2 heading into tomorrow night’s Game 6 in Raleigh, issued this statement:

“We are satisfied with the league’s ruling,” said Hurricanes President and general manager Jim Rutherford. “After our team received several punches throughout the series leading up to Game 5, it was a matter of time before one was going to be thrown back.”

I’m speechless. But not that much, so look for my column on this matter at around 10:25 p.m. tonight. For now, take the time to teach your kids that a sucker punch will cost you $2,500 as long as you’re on the ice. But if you do it anywhere else, you’ll be fired and probably criminally charged.