On Wednesday the NHL’s Department of Player Safety handed Gustav Nyquist, of the Detroit Red Wings, a six game suspension for high-sticking Minnesota Wild defenseman Jared Spurgeon. He will be suspended without pay and forfeit $158,333.34 to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.
The six game ruling came after the Swedish winger waived the right to an in-person hearing. Given that he was offered an in-person hearing the League’s Department of Player Safety had the ability to hand out a lengthier sentence but chose not to.
Which has many wondering if they should they have?
The suspension came in the wake of a blatant high-sticking incident which took place during a game between the Wings and the Wild in Minnesota on Sunday, February 12. Nyquist was penalized for the play, assessed a double-minor for high-sticking at 14:13 of the first period.
In defense of his actions Nyquist stated that his intention was not to spear Spurgeon in the face, but rather deliver a cross-check in retaliation for the one he had just received from the Wild defenseman. He attested that he had attempted to bring his stick across his body but the blade was accidentally caught by Spurgeon instead.
SHOULD HAVE BEEN MORE
Regardless of his intention, Nyquist did in fact spear Spurgeon square in face. He delivered a high-stick the Department of Player Safety called “potentially career-threatening.” Had Nyquist been able to bring his stick across his body without spearing Spurgeon, he still admitted to attempting to deliver a blow to player with his stick.
This intention on this play was to injure and the results could have been much worse.
Handing out only a six game sentence has many dumbfounded of the League’s decision, including the former NHL enforcer Brian McGrattan.
You look a man right in the eyes and spear him in the face and only get 6 games!!! Wow!!!
— brian mcgrattan (@bigern10) February 15, 2017
Welp. Nailed it on the Nyquist suspension. Predictably pathetic. So embarrassing.
— Steve Dangle Glynn (@Steve_Dangle) February 15, 2017
The NHL called Nyquist’s spear “potentially career-threatening” and still only gave him six games
— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) February 15, 2017
SIX IS FAIR
Let’s give the guy a little credit here. If he said he didn’t mean to do it then we ought to take his word for it. At least a little bit.
Consider the fact that Nyquist has no prior suspensions and has never been involved in an incident like this. He is not known as an overly physical player and has no history of aggression or behavioral problems. All things considered, Gustav Nyquist has behaved himself while in the NHL and this is really the first time his name has ever come across the desk of the Department of Player Safety.
It is worth noting, as TSN insider Bob McKenzie has, that similar high-sticking incident have in the past been given similar suspensions.
The Department of Player Safety defended their ruling by highlighting the fact that, in the end, there was no injury on the play and Nyquist has no history of erratic, aggressive, or dangerous behavior.
WHAT’S THE BIG DEAL?
If you think that six games was too much then you’re just plain wrong. So wrong that there’s simply no point in arguing with you.
Nyquist needs to be held accountable for his actions. Regardless of his intentions, he is responsible for his play on the ice. He made an irresponsible play with his stick and will have six games to think about it.
The Department of Player Safety needs to be careful with their rulings on plays like these, though. A play which has clear intent to injure might be something which ought to warrant more than six games.
Food for thought.
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