Detroit Red Wings forward Gustav Nyquist has been suspended six games, for high sticking Minnesota Wild blueliner Jared Spurgeon in the Wild’s 6-3 win on February 12th. If you haven’t seen the offence, here it is:
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
Scary stuff. Spurgeon missed a few minutes while betting stitches to his upper lip and came out relatively unscathed (by hockey standards). Still though, he was lucky. Shortly before the spear, Nyquist was knocked down by Spurgeon
Nyquist declined an invitation to an in-person hearing by the NHL’s Department of Player Safety, and the hearing was held by phone on Wednesday afternoon. The 27 year old winger is not a repeat offender and hasn’t had any previous suspensions. He was fined $2000 diving last season but otherwise is one of Detroit’s more reliable forwards.
Before the DoPS announced the suspension we asked the good folk of twitter how long Nyquist should be suspended for:
— The 4th Line Podcast (@4thLinePodcast) February 13, 2017
The popular choice was 6-10 games, which is in line with the six game suspension Duncan Keith received for high-sticking Charlie Coyle. An understandable comparison. Whoever voted for zero (it wasn’t me) either hasn’t seen the offence, or is actually Nyquist.
The suspension will seriously hurt the Red Wings. Nyquist has 29 points, tied for third most with Anthony Mantha. Mostly from assists. His six game suspension means Detroit will be without his services against the Blues, Capitals, Penguins, Islanders, Canucks and Flames. All crucial games for the Red Wings who are sat bottom of the division and all but out of the playoff race.
Nyquist is no Sidney Crosby but his absence will be sorely felt. First liners are hard to replace and while head coach Jeff Blashill will reshuffle as best he can; this suspension couldn’t have come at the worst time and just adds extra pressure to that already felt by the players and front office. As a Red Wings fan, I’m disappointed that the team will be without a key player for six games, but as a fan of not hitting people in the face with sticks, I completely understand the DoPS’s decision.
Do you think six games is the right decision? Join in the conversation or comment below.