Ryan Hartman's frequent trips to the penalty box finally cost him a spot in the Wild's lineup.
Hartman was a healthy scratch Thursday vs. Philadelphia because of his recent rash of penalties, the timing of which has stung the Wild.
"He's going to be accountable for his actions in the last game," coach Dean Evason said. "We can't continually talk about discipline and taking bad penalties and keep taking bad penalties.
"If it's not corrected, then we need to take steps to correct it. This is the step."
During losses at Carolina, Florida and Tampa Bay, Hartman was charged with 21 minutes' worth of penalties.
He received a 10-minute misconduct vs. the Hurricanes for talking back to an official, took a roughing minor against the Panthers before a fight and was sent to the box twice in a close game with the Lightning on Tuesday. Just seconds after he returned from serving a goaltender interference penalty, Tampa Bay scored its first tying goal. Then after the winning goal bounced in off him during the third period, Hartman was called for hooking to put the Wild shorthanded as they vied for the equalizer.
"Message received," Hartman said. "The meeting with Dean was short. Told him I'd probably do the same thing in this situation. I understand.
"It's unfortunate how it happens with me scoring on our own net and taking a penalty afterwards. So it just kind of snowballed from scoring on myself. Obviously, I want to win games. I want to help our team win."
This has been an uneven season for Hartman. After losing the No. 1 center job during the team's poor start, he was sidelined for seven weeks after getting punched on the shoulder in a fight with Chicago's Jarred Tinordi. In 25 games, the forward has five goals and nine assists, this after he set career highs last season in goals (34), assists (31) and points (65) during a breakout performance alongside Kirill Kaprizov and Mats Zuccarello.
But injury and a demotion haven't been the only sources of adversity.
"We've got to stop taking retaliatory or bad penalties in key points of the hockey game," Evason said. "How does he correct it? He doesn't take silly penalties. It's as simple as that."
Overall, Hartman has committed 18 penalties, his penalty minute average per game tops on the team.
"He's had leeway, but it can't continually happen," Evason said. "You have to find a way to channel your aggressiveness, and we want him to be aggressive and we want him to be gritty and we want him to be that disturbing player for sure. That's in his nature.
"But you have to stay on the line. There's time he's going to go over the line, and we can live with some of those times. But it can't be a consistent go-over-the-line situation."
With Hartman benched, the Wild subbed Mason Shaw into a lineup that also had a significant subtraction last week.
Matt Dumba was a healthy scratch for two games before he was added back onto the blue line in the 4-2 defeat at Tampa Bay. Evason thought Dumba played "really well" after sitting out.
"Probably the best game that he's played," Evason said. "I'm not saying it's because of that, but it maybe contributed to that."