Gustav Nyquist might have a bit of an anger problem. After he was cross-checked to the ice by Jared Spurgeon, Nyquist spun around and nailed Spurgeon in the face with a high stick.
When you watch the video, note how Nyquist makes sure to catch Spurgeon in the face with the blase of his stick as opposed to the shaft.
That’s a horrible, horrible play.
Nyquist received a double-minor penalty on the play, but could have easily received a harsher sentence given the clear intent and nature of how he hit Spurgeon in the face.
Spurgeon was forced to leave the ice, but later returned to the game.
Nyquist later claimed the high stick was an accident, but that’s a pretty tough claim to believe.
#RedWings Nyquist said high stick was accidental and he was glad to see Spurgeon return.
— Dana Wakiji (@Dwakiji) February 12, 2017
Consider that quote some damage control by Nyquist who realizes the NHL could (and should) come calling with a multi-game suspension. There’s no possible way that this was an accident. Had Nyquist’s stick slid up Spurgeon’s stick, or had a different original point of contact, then maybe – maybe – he’d have a case. As is, this is a clear dirty play with obvious intent.
The Department of Player Safety tends to miss on opportunities to throw the book at a play they want removed from the game, but here they should have no issue handing out a stiff sentence given the nature of the hit.