The Wild took down the last place team in the Eastern Conference, the Detroit Red Wings, in a 6-3 win on Sunday afternoon. There was a lot of back and forth action until the Wild were able to pull away in the 3rd period. Late in the 1st period, Gustav Nyquist caused some discussion amongst hockey fans nationwide.
While battling for a loose puck along the boards, Jared Spurgeon delivered a crosscheck to the back of Gustav Nyquist, who ended up falling to his knees. Clearly frustrated, Nyquist got up, turned around and deliberately jammed his stick right into the face of Spurgeon, who instantly fell to the ground. Spurgeon was clearly in pain, as a scrum ensued shortly after. Nyquist was given a double minor penalty for this dangerous spear to the face. Spurgeon received a few stitches, and returned to play shortly after. Luckily, the stick did not hit him in the eye.
They say that there are two things in life that are certain: death and taxes. I think that Gustav Nyquist facing a suspension for his high stick could be added to that list. Nyquist has never been suspended before. He has only faced one fine in his career; $2,000 for diving last season. Regardless, this high stick was malicious. He was frustrated and chose the worst possible form of retaliation.
Nyquist defended himself after the game saying, “(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 okay.” A sad excuse for an act that was clearly on purpose.
Nyquist has been offered an in-person hearing with the NHL department of player safety for the high stick. The date and time have not been decided. He could be facing a six-game suspension or more. The fact that Nyquist has not been suspended before, and that Spurgeon returned to the game will be taken into account when deciding the length of the suspension.
I am not sure how he did not receive a major penalty, or an ejection. It will be interesting to find out how many games the department of player safety will suspend him for.