The NHL’s Department of Player Safety has offered Detroit Red Wings forward Gustav Nyquist an in-person hearing for a high-stick on Minnesota Wild defenseman Jared Spurgeon.
An in-person hearing means the NHL has the option to suspend Nyquist six games or more. The Department of Player Safety said a date and time for the hearing had yet to be determined.
Nyquist can also opt for a phone hearing.
The play came at the 14:13 mark of the first period of a Sunday game between the Wild and Red Wings after Spurgeon knocked down Nyquist with a cross-check along the boards. Nyquist did not seem to appreciate the play and then used his blade to hit Spurgeon in the face.
Here is a different angle of the infraction:
Alternate angle of Nyquist/Spurgeon. How do you spear a guy in the face and not get tossed from the game? pic.twitter.com/6j1i662vOn
— Jeff Veillette (@JeffVeillette) February 12, 2017
Spurgeon got a few stiches and went back on the ice in a few minutes. Nyquist received a minor penalty for a high-stick.
“(It was) completely accidental. Obviously didn’t mean to do that. My stick gets caught. I’m trying to get body position on him and I’m happy he was out there again. Obviously had no intention of doing that, so my stick gets caught and it looks bad but I’m happy he’s OK,” Nyquist told reporters after the game.
Added Nyquist, “That’s just a battle, that’s just the way it goes. Along the boards, then after that I’m trying to get body position on him and my stick gets caught, so it was good to see him out there right after. I’m happy he was out there playing the rest of the game.”
Spurgeon was relieved that the play didn’t have a worse outcome. He played 22:16 and notched an assist in the Wild’s 6-3 win.
“I haven’t really seen a replay or anything. I’m sure something will happen and the league will do something” Spurgeon said according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune. “I’m just happy it didn’t go in my eye or something like that.”
Spurgeon’s teammates were surprised that Nyquist’s play didn’t yield more in-game discipline from the referees.
“I just don’t understand how that’s not a five-minute penalty. Obviously he’s not a player that is going to, I want to say do it on purpose except anybody watching the game, … it’s a five-minute penalty regardless,” Minnesota goaltender Devan Dubnyk said. “There’s four guys out there that didn’t see it. But it’s good on us to go get one and make sure that we didn’t let it bother us. but it’s a dangerous play. Again, it’s not a guy that’s trying to do it, but it’s a retaliatory thing and it should be a five-minute penalty.”
Nyquist doesn’t have much of a disciplinary rap sheet beyond a $2,000 fine for diving/embellishment last season. In 317 career games he has picked up just 92 penalty minutes.
TSN’s Bob McKenzie referenced the six-game suspension Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith received last season for high-sticking Wild forward Charlie Coyle as a possible comparison for what Nyquist could face.
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