Gustav Nyquist has been offered an in-person hearing with NHL Player Safety after spearing Wild defenseman Jared Spurgeon in the face Sunday. The Detroit forward will likely argue the hit was accidental.
Slow-motion replays by NBC Sports and the GIFs circulating on social media since the incident tell a different story.
Spurgeon, late in the first period of a 6-3 victory Sunday, cross checked Nyquist from behind and knocked him to the ice. Nyquist responded by directing the tip of his blade at Spurgeon’s head. The high stick caught Spurgeon just below his left eye and opened deep wound that required stitches. Spurgeon only missed a couple of shifts before returning to the game.
“I didn’t mean to do that,” Nyquist said. “My stick gets caught, I am trying to get body position on him. I’m happy he was out there again. I had no intention of doing that. My stick gets caught. It looks bad, but I’m happy he’s OK.
“Obviously, I’ve got to have better control of my stick.”
Those that know the Swedish-born player well, thought the incident to be uncharacteristic of Nyquist.
Helene St. James, the Detroit Free Press Red Wings beat writer, wrote “Detroit Red Wings forward Gustav Nyquist sounded contrite and regretful, but he is likely to rue his lapse in judgment for longer than a day.”
Teammate Henrik Zetterberg argued Nyquist’s stick probably got caught and he’s not the type of player that would spear someone.
Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said “I know he got his stick up there. But I also know I’ve known Nyqui for six-plus years — there’s no chance there was any intent. I’ve seen him in every possible situation. There is no chance there was any intent.”
National hockey analysts don’t agree.
TSN’s Bryan Hayes was upset Nyquist did not get ejected from the game. He was assessed a double-minor for high-sticking, instead of what many thought should have been a game misconduct penalty.
NBC analyst and former NHL coach Mike Milbury said “This is intentful with malice, a forethought. He lost it. This guy just lost it. … This is a five-game suspension at least. And the referees, I can’t believe didn’t get anywhere close to right on this one. The league has got to make it right. They’re trying to eliminate a lot of these brawls and fighting. This one a few years ago, would have cleared the benches. ... They missed it.
Keith Jones, NBC analyst and former player, added “The retaliation part is just awful. I mean it was a minor cross check to the back and the intent of Nyquist is a shame. You can’t do this. You would actually get beat to pulp if this happened a few seasons ago. The officials missed it.
Mike Harrington, a Buffalo News hockey columnist, tweeted “ Actually, if you watched the NBC replay … Nyquist was looking right at [Spurgeon]. His story is a fib.”
More of the conversation:
@Russostrib Nyquist's response to the question was just as cowardly as the penalty itself. Seriously dude, be a man.— Chad Durand (@_Coach_Durand) February 12, 2017
Literally just re-watched the Nyquist incident, he goes to the box looks up and says " What Happened " and then says " Why did I do that "— Detroit Moments (@DetroitMoments) February 13, 2017
Nyquist should be out for the rest of the season. Clearly swings his stick at Spurgeon's face on purpose.— Draglikepull (@draglikepull) February 12, 2017
Let's be real.. If you're going by NHL standards, anything more than a fine for Nyquist is too much.— Kyle M. (@KyleWIIM) February 12, 2017
I wish I could bold "NHL standards"
Nyquist will forfeit $26,388.89 per game of his suspension. Cost of a six-game ban would be $158,333.33; a 10-gamer = $263,888.89, etc.— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) February 13, 2017
I really still can't believe Nyquist did this. Anything less than 10 games would be a joke. Maybe 15? 20? So ugly. https://t.co/hWOSSvq4sV— Steve Dangle Glynn (@Steve_Dangle) February 13, 2017
"You can't do this."— NHL on NBC (@NHLonNBCSports) February 13, 2017
Mike Milbury and Keith Jones discuss the Nyquist high sticking penalty. pic.twitter.com/QqjvBOhM94
Nyquist's postgame response: