4-Game Suspension Frustrates Jets’ Scheifele
Winnipeg Jets forward Mark Scheifele has expressed frustration at the four-game suspension handed to him by the NHL Department of Player Safety after a tumultuous second-round opener against Montreal Canadiens. The crime? A clash with Montreal forward Jake Evans that left Evans concussed and needing to be stretchered off the ice – all within the last minute of action.
Heavy Consequence For Scheifele
While Scheifele was landed with a five-minute major for charging as well as a game misconduct, Montreal Canadiens sealed a 5-3 win, leaving the Jets’ hopes of a successful campaign dashed. Scheifele has said that he regrets the incident and fallout, referring both to Evans’ injury and the consequent suspension, which he described as excessive. This outcome could cause the Winnipeg Jets player to miss the start of the 2022 season if he still has a game to serve – a huge blow for the entire Winnipeg team. Scheifele is a prolific scorer, having netted 21 goals and 42 assists in 56 regular-season games, and maintains that in this incident his aim was purely to negate a goal.
Winnipeg Jets’ elimination from the series has left players and coach, Paul Maurice, sorely disappointed. Scheifele and Blake Wheeler, the team’s captain, both expressed appreciation for Maurice’s support after the game on Wednesday came to its disastrous end. Comments from Maurice backed up Scheifele’s claim that his actions were within the rules of the game, with the coach describing the incident as a “heavy, heavy hit” but “clean”.
For Scheifele this suspension is his first supplemental discipline in an NHL career that began ten years ago. The ruling by the NHL Department of Player Safety has been described by the Jets player as “crushing”; he went on to comment that “[it] definitely sucks.”
NHL Verdict Welcomed By Canadiens
The NHL Department of Player Safety has defended its decision to enforce the suspension; a penalty fully supported by Montreal Canadiens players. Although Scheifele has stated that he had no other course of action during the fateful moment, the NHL decided that he had not attempted to make a defensive play and intentionally slammed into Evans with the aim of delivering a “hard, violent check” to the Montreal player.
Despite this setback, the Winnipeg Jets are intent on leaving their mark, having reached the NHL playoffs for the fifth time in eight years. Players, including veteran forward Nate Thompson, remain optimistic about the future of their team.