NHL community disgusted by Gustav Nyquist’s high stick
Gustav Nyquist says high-stick on Jared Spurgeon was ‘accidental,’ while Henrik Zetterberg and Jeff Blashill talk about the play Sunday after 6-3 loss to Wild on Sunday, Feb. 12, 2017. Video by Helene St. James, DFP. Videolicious
Detroit Red Wings forward Gustav Nyquist is awaiting a ruling from NHL Player Safety after spearing Minnesota Wild defenseman Jared Spurgeon in the face Sunday. The forward likely will argue that the hit was accidental.
But 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.
Those who 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.”
Nyquist said he “didn’t mean to do that.”
“My stick gets caught, I am trying to get body position on him.” he said. “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.”
National hockey analysts don’t agree.
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.”
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.”
TSN’s Bryan Hayes was upset that 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