Winnipeg Jets forward Mark Scheifele has been suspended four games for his hit on Montreal Canadiens forward Jake Evans in Game One of their first-round playoff series.
The hit took place with the Canadiens leading Game One 4-3. In the final minute of the contest, Evans was circling around the front of the net to tuck in an empty-netter. Scheifele drove into him after skating down the length of the ice.
Evans was down and motionless in what was a scary moment, with Winnipeg’s Nikolaj Ehlers and a linesman keeping the scrum away from the fallen Hab.
Scheifele was issued a major penalty on the play, as well as a game misconduct.
On Thursday, Montreal confirmed Evans suffered a concussion and is out indefinitely.
“He’s certainly going to miss time, we’re not sure how much time,” Canadiens Dominique Ducharme said.
Scheifele had a hearing Thursday, but it was not in person. That capped the suspension at a maximum of five games.
According to the NHL Department of Player Safety, Scheifele was “moving with excessive momentum gained from travelling a considerable distance…[and] finishes his check violently and with unwarranted force into Evans, making significant head contact in the process and causing an injury.”
There was no attempt to play the puck, either, and that would have to be a major factor in assessing this suspension.
Much has been made of Scheifele’s clean history and how he isn’t “that sort of player,” but that hardly matters now.
The debate will rage on, too, but that only really matters in the hallowed halls of Internet discourse – or what passes for it.
What matters now, beyond obvious concern for the health of Evans, is how the Jets adjust without Scheifele in the lineup for four games.
Game Two goes Friday in Winnipeg.