On Wednesday evening, in the opening game of the second round Stanley Cup Playoff matchup between the Montreal Canadiens and host Winnipeg Jets, a controversial bodycheck was thrown.
With less than a minute to play and the Habs up one goal, forward Jake Evans broke up ice to collect a loose puck to tuck into the empty Jets’ net. In an attempt to chase him down and prevent the goal, Winnipeg’s No. 1 centreman Mark Scheifele flattened Evans as he turned around the goal line, milliseconds after putting the puck into the goal.
Evans was knocked out cold and needed to be stretchered off the ice. It was later reported that he did not go to the local hospital, but had, in fact, suffered a concussion on the play. Scheifele was assessed a five-minute major for charging and a game misconduct.
He has since had a hearing with the National Hockey League’s Department of Player Safety, where he has pleaded his case in front of director George Parros, with assistance from his agent and team’s general manager.
With Game 2 of the series coming on Friday, the DOPS has another day before a decision is required. However, that news could come as early as Thursday afternoon.
Was the hit dirty? That remains the biggest takeaway from Wednesday’s game. Despite losing the opening game, all that Winnipeg hockey fans – and players alike – could speak of was the check thrown.
Some precursors to remember:
- Just because a player is knocked out or injured on a play does not make the hit dirty.
- Just because a player skates the length of the ice does not make it charging.
- Just because a player’s skates leave the ice on a hit does not mean he jumped.
- Just because a player’s head snaps back does not make it the initial point of contact.
Through all this, there have been very mixed feelings of the play online. Some examples to follow.
After a long look at Scheifele hit on Evans. IMO Scheifele wasn’t skating the length of the ice with intent of laying a hit. He starts gliding between the circles then drops shoulder to prepare for a hit on Evans at the blue paint. He doesn’t jump or target Evans’ head…… pic.twitter.com/LlROydFkej
— Joe Pascucci (@Pascucci015) June 3, 2021
No.1: I hope Evan’s is okay, but I will say that If Scheifele let’s up on that play the media would call him soft and cost #nhljets the game. He didn’t leave his feet, he didn’t target the head…. I’m no expert but I know Mark and he would never intentionally injure someone.
— Eric Hawerchuk (@EricHawerchuk) June 3, 2021
Folks..first off I hope Evans is ok..my 2 cents.. pic.twitter.com/QK9EeF2aJM
— Mike Commodore (@commie22) June 3, 2021
I watched the Scheifele hit on Evans from all angles and all speeds. Such a dangerous hit with only purpose to hurt a player. Scheifele is a great player but hit like that shouldn’t be part of the game. I would think this will be an in-person (zoom) hearing going 5 plus at least.
— Martin Biron (@martybiron43) June 3, 2021
— Barrett (@BSendrowski) June 3, 2021
— Stu Cowan (@StuCowan1) June 3, 2021
Before everyone attacks Mark Scheifele online let’s remember that he’s not a dirty player. It was an emotional hit and it was uncharacteristic. He’s a good dude and didn’t intend to injure Evans. #NHLJets
— Jesse Pollock (@jpolly22) June 3, 2021
My take on the HIT⬇️⬇️⬇️⬇️ pic.twitter.com/GfO6SlMJgh
— Matthew Barnaby (@MattBarnaby3636) June 3, 2021