Maple Leafs’ Zach Hyman to have hearing for late hit on Bruins’ McAvoy

17 Comments

Given all of the late hits that have happened around the NHL over the past couple of weeks that did not result in a disciplinary hearing, it was easy to think Toronto Maple Leafs forward Zach Hyman was going to avoid any supplemental discipline for his hit on Boston Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy on Saturday night.

But this one may have been too late to ignore.

The NHL’s Department of Player Safety announced on Sunday that Hyman will have a disciplinary hearing for interference.

Hyman was ejected from the game for the hit, while McAvoy, who just recently returned to the lineup, was injured as a result.

You can see the play in the video above.

[Related: Maple Leafs’ Hyman ejected for late hit on Bruins Charlie McAvoy]

There have been a number of controversial, late hits around the NHL in recent weeks from Ryan Reaveshit on Washington Capitals forward Tom Wilson (that left Wilson concussed and still sidelined), to Tom Wilson’s hit on New Jersey Devils forward Brett Seney, to this hit by Dallas Stars forward Brett Ritchie on Pittsburgh Penguins defender Jusso Riikkola.

All were clearly late hits that were initiated long after their opponents had moved the puck.

While Reaves and Wilson were ejected for their hits, they did not rise to the level of supplemental discipline because they did not target the head or result in significant head contact. That is usually the line the NHL draws for late hits unless it is an egregiously late hit. This one did not appear to contact the head, but it was definitely late and sent McAvoy dangerously into the boards.

None of these hits are acceptable or examples of good clean hockey. They are not even examples of a player “finishing their check.” They are reckless hits on players that are not eligible to be hit, and in some cases are resulting in injuries. If those types of hits continue the NHL will have to start doing more than just ejecting and penalizing the players that distribute them.

MORE: Your 2018-19 NHL on NBC TV schedule

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.

NHL injury roundup: Matt Duchene ‘week-to-week’ with groin injury

Getty
Leave a comment

The Ottawa Senators lost Matt Duchene and Bobby Ryan to injury in their most recent game against the Montreal Canadiens, and according to the team they are both going to be sidelined for the foreseeable future.

The Senators announced on Saturday that Duchene has been placed on injured reserve with a groin injury and is considered “week-to-week,” while Ryan is sidelined with a concussion.

There is no timetable for Ryan’s return to the lineup.

These are two pretty significant injuries for the Senators. Duchene, currently playing in a contract year, is having one of the best seasons of his career and is the team’s leading scorer with 34 points (12 goals, 22 assists) in 29 games. It is extremely unlikely that he will re-sign with the team before becoming a free agent, and given the nature of the organization’s ongoing rebuild he will be a prime trade candidate at some point this season.

[Related: 10 players helping themselves the most in contract years]

Ryan is the team’s sixth-leading scorer with 18 points.

The one thing the Senators have had going for them this season has been the fact their offense has been among the best in the league. Losing Ryan, and especially Duchene, is going to put a significant dent in that. The Senators have lost six of their past nine games entering Saturday’s game against the Pittsburgh Penguins and are currently 26th in the NHL with a .466 points percentage. They do not own a first-round pick in the 2019 draft as it was sent to the Colorado Avalanche as part of the Duchene trade a year ago.

Other injury news around the NHL this weekend…

— Ottawa’s opponent on Saturday, Pittsburgh, will be without one of its top forwards in Patric Hornqvist as he is dealing with an upper-body injury. He exited Pittsburgh’s win against the New York Islanders on Thursday after playing just one period. There is no word on what the injury is, except for the Penguins saying it is not related to the concussion that recently sidelined him. On Tuesday he recorded the fastest hat trick in Penguins franchise history.

— The Philadelphia Flyers will not have star center Sean Couturier on Saturday due to a lower-body injury. He is considered day-to-day.

— Washington Capitals forward Tom Wilson will not play on Saturday night against the Columbus Blue Jackets, missing his second consecutive game due to a concussion. Wilson was injured on Tuesday night when he was hit by Vegas Golden Knights forward Ryan Reaves. Reaves was ejected for the hit but not suspended.

— The Chicago Blackhawks activated defenseman Connor Murphy from injured reserve and replaced him on the IR list (retroactive to Dec. 5) with Gustav Forsling who is out with a shoulder injury.

MORE: Your 2018-19 NHL on NBC TV schedule

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.

Reaves: Autographed photos of Wilson injury destroyed

40 Comments

However you feel about Ryan Reaveshit on Tom Wilson, the fallout hasn’t been pretty.

Reaves was ejected from the Vegas Golden Knights’ 5-3 win against the Washington Capitals on Tuesday, and that ended up being the extent of discipline, as he was not suspended. Wilson needed to be helped off of the ice following that check; it was an ugly sight, as Wilson’s helmet came off during the fall, leaving him without protection when his head hit the ice.

In the locker room after the win, Reaves addressed the hit as such: “[H]e was looking at his pass and ran into a lion in the jungle.”

It’s bad enough to say that in the locker room after the game, when emotions can still be high, and before it was essentially confirmed that Wilson suffered a concussion.

The ill-advised decisions didn’t stop there, however, as Russian Machine Never Breaks’ Ian Oland reported that Reaves autographed photos of the aftermath of the hit for a company named “Inscriptagraphs.”

The Washington Post’s Scott Allen tracked down some screengrabs of Inscriptagraphs’ Instagram page (say that five times fast), noting that the company described the autographed photo as “the must-have Christmas gift of the year.” Yikes.

Inscriptagraphs

If nothing else, Reaves & Co. realized that it was not wise to go down that road.

As the first sign that cooler heads prevailed, the Inscriptagraphs website took down the listing. Reaves told Jesse Granger of The Athletic that he did indeed sign those photos, but eventually had a change of heart, prompting them to be destroyed. It was noted that the photos were destroyed:

The Las Vegas Review-Journal’s Ed Graney had a bit more, including Reaves hinting that it’s not unusual to sign bad things?

“I’ve signed a lot worse, but in this age of social media and concussions, and the fact (Wilson) was hurt, you never want to see that,” Reaves said. “I called the guy (at Inscriptagraphs) right away, and we took care of it before it got out.”

Vegas Golden Knights PR rep Eric Tosi also told ESPN and the Washington Post that they “were not distributed and they have been destroyed.”

One would think that this will be the end of this sordid saga, beyond Wilson’s recovery process stemming from that concussion, as the two teams won’t meet again during the 2018-19 regular season. With Reaves avoiding supplemental discipline, it’s tough to imagine more coming from this.

Keeping this ugly story in the headlines does bring to mind the NHL’s wider confusion with supplemental discipline, though.

With Matt Dumba avoiding a suspension for a highly questionable hit in Thursday’s Flames – Wild game, it’s sometimes difficult to work out through the league’s muddled messages about what “the line” really is. It’s something Capitals players discussed following that Reaves hit on Wilson Tuesday, as Granger reported (sub required).

“Who knows anymore? I don’t feel like anyone knows what’s going on anymore,” Brett Connolly said. “I don’t know if it was to the head or the top of the shoulder, but it’s still one of those hits they’re trying to get out of the game. They have a tough job, those refs. It’s a quick game. They have a tough job and they’re trying to call it the way they’re being told from people a lot higher than me and you. So we’re just trying to as players figure it out too. It’s tough.”

Connolly hits on a point about hits by Reaves, Dumba, and Wilson too: there are a lot of frame-by-frame breakdowns of checks that blur the line. Was the head the primary point of contact? Did the offending hitter’s skates leave the ice? How late was it?

But are we losing sight of the big picture by diving into the hyper-specific details?

Capitals coach Todd Reirden believed that Reaves was targeting Wilson all game long, and the situation devolved into that hit. As we learn more about the impact concussions have on the lives of athletes (and everyday people), you wonder if the league might need to take less of a laissez-faire attitude when it comes to these “feuds.”

Sure, there’s a “nature of the beast” element to all of this, as hockey’s a violent, physical game. Yet, plenty of these hits can feel predatory in nature. Was an offending hit really a hockey play? Perhaps the Department of Player Safety needs to consider setting new precedents about how they police interference, as just one example of contexts when dangerous hits can happen. The league should at least consider common sense ways to try to cut down on these cloudy, borderline situations.

It’s unclear how long Wilson will be sidelined with this concussion. The winger (who scored 14 points in 11 games in a red-hot run returning from his lengthy suspension) missed Thursday’s Capitals win against the Coyotes, and the Washington Post’s Isabelle Khurshudyan believes that Wilson will miss Saturday’s action, too.

He’s currently labeled day-to-day, a descriptor that’s even hazier than the league’s stance on borderline hits.

Hopefully NHL players will be more clear-eyed when it comes to how they conduct themselves following controversial hits in the future, though.

MORE: Your 2018-19 NHL on NBC TV schedule

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

Tom Wilson out with concussion from Reaves hit

38 Comments

Ryan Reaves didn’t receive a suspension for his hit on Tom Wilson, but Wilson is sidelined with a concussion nonetheless.

However you feel about the Washington Capitals’ forward and his history of hits, it’s painful to watch the result of Reaves’ hard check. As you can see, Wilson’s helmet came off during the exchange, causing his head to hit the ice without that protection. It’s an unsettling sight, to say the least.

Some onlookers believed that Reaves had been “going after” Wilson for much of the game. It’s unclear if this had anything to do with Wilson’s controversial hit on Vegas Golden Knights forward Jonathan Marchessault during Game 1 of the 2018 Stanley Cup Final, but either way, Reaves didn’t seem apologetic after Vegas beat Washington 5-3 on Tuesday.

Via Sin Bin Vegas’ video of the scrum after the game, you can see that Reaves mentions that Game 1, and then comments on the hit as: “he was looking at his pass and ran into a lion in the jungle.”

It seems like that comment wasn’t a one-off after a game, either. Russian Machine Never Breaks’ Cara Bahniuk reports that Reaves was autographing photos of the aftermath (Reaves standing next to a fallen Wilson), complete with the “lion in the jungle” quip. The “Inscriptagraphs” page has been removed from the company’s website, but a Twitter user took a screenshot of the signed image.

Reaves was ejected from the game, and that was as far as the discipline went.

It’s currently unclear how much time Wilson will miss with this concussion. The Washington Post’s Isabelle Khurshudyan reported that it was a concussion in the first place, noting that the Capitals are only deeming it an “upper-body injury” while labeling Wilson day-to-day. After seeing footage of Wilson’s head hitting the ice and needing help off the ice, it’s pretty tough to imagine that it would be anything less than a concussion.

He’s expected to miss Thursday’s game against the Arizona Coyotes, at minimum.

That Tuesday contest against Vegas broke a blistering eight-game point streak (seven goals, six assists for 13 points) for Wilson, who’s generated 14 points in his 11 games back from a 14-game suspension.

For more background on the Wilson – Reaves beef, check this Sportsnet video:

UPDATE: Reaves apologized for signing the photos, which the team says were destroyed. From the Review-Journal:

“The picture was probably in bad taste,” Reaves said. “I apologize that it even got started.”

“I’ve signed a lot worse, but in this age of social media and concussions, and the fact (Wilson) was hurt, you never want to see that,” Reaves said. “I called the guy (at Inscriptagraphs) right away, and we took care of it before it got out.”

MORE: Your 2018-19 NHL on NBC TV schedule

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

Golden Knights’ Reaves ejected after blindside hit on Capitals’ Wilson

60 Comments

(UPDATE: Reaves will not receive any supplemental discipline from the NHL.)

Yes, you read that right.

Vegas Golden Knights forward Ryan Reaves did his best Tom Wilson impression in front of the man himself against the Washington Capitals on Tuesday. And the result was much the same.

Reaves drilled Wilson as Wilson was looking the other way following a pass attempt. The hit from Reaves sent Wilson’s helmet flying in the air. Wilson hit the ice hard and appeared to hit his head on the way down.

NBC Sports Washington has the video here:

Reaves was assessed a five-minute major for interference and handed a game misconduct on top of it. He’s also likely going to be hearing from the NHL’s Department of Player Safety over the next couple of days.

Wilson needed to be helped off and was ruled out for the rest of the game with an upper-body injury.

Wilson was involved in a controversial hit last week after he laid a blindside hit of his own on New Jersey Devils forward Brett Seney. Wilson was ejected from the game but was not subject to further discipline.

Wilson has been suspended four times in the past 15 months.

Reaves and Wilson already had a thing going in the game.

In the clip below, Reaves steps into the path of an oncoming Wilson and then proceeds to laugh in his face, this after drilling Wilson seconds earlier.

Wilson took Reaves down in the first period with a big hit of his own.

Still a lot of hate between these two teams and it’s safe to say that Reaves and Wilson haven’t seen the last of each other.


Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck