Red Wings’ Gustav Nyquist to have in-person hearing for high stick
Red Wings forward Gustav Nyquist will answer for his high stick to the face of Wild defenseman Jared Spurgeon, likely in the form of a lengthy suspension.
Nyquist has been offered an in-person hearing with the NHL’s Department of Player Safety this week after the incident in Sunday’s 6-3 loss, the league announced.
An in-person hearing allows for a suspension of six games or more.
The play occurred at the 14:13 mark of the first period when Nyquist was involved in a scrum along the side boards. Spurgeon skated up from behind and knocked Nyquist to the ice with a cross-check to the back. Nyquist then appeared to deliberately use his stick to retaliate, striking Spurgeon violently across the upper lip and cheek.
Nyquist was assessed a four-minute double minor penalty, but was not ejected. Spurgeon exited briefly to receive four stitches and returned to play the rest of the game.
The 27-year-old Swede, with no prior suspensions to his name, insisted afterward the play was unintentional.
“(It was) completely accidental. Obviously didn’t mean to do that,” Nyquist told reporters. “My stick gets caught. I’m trying to get body position on him and I’m happy he was out there again.
Nyquist added: “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, who skated 22:16 and recorded an assist in the win, didn’t lobby for a five-minute major and game misconduct on the play, as some of his teammates insisted should have been the case.
“I haven’t really seen a replay or anything. I’m sure something will happen and the league will do something,” he said, per the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. “I’m just happy it didn’t go in my eye or something like that.”
Wild coach Bruce Boudreau was more emphatic in calling on the NHL to discipline Nyquist.
“Two inches closer, the guy could have speared his eye out,” he said.
If suspended, Nyquist stands to forfeit $26,388.89 in salary per game missed. He’s the Red Wings’ third-leading scorer with 28 points in 55 games.
TSN suggested the six-game suspension of Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith for high-sticking Wild forward Charlie Coyle last season could serve as a possible case study. Except, one of the games Keith missed came in the playoffs, so Nyquist may face something more severe.