Sunday, February 12, 2017

Watch: Nyquist Retaliates with Vicious Stick on Spurgeon

You've heard of an eye for an eye, but Detroit's Gustav Nyquist went for an eye for a crosscheck during the first period of the Red Wings vs. Wild game in Minnesota.

Watch as Nyquist turns after taking a crosscheck from behind from Wild defenseman Jared Spurgeon and nearly spears his eye out. Luckily for everybody involved Nyquist got Spurgeon around the cheekbone. Spurgeon went off for repairs and has since returned.

Nyquist was given a double-minor on the play but he was not ejected. He has an assist and is a plus-two thus far.

Conversation has quickly turned to how severe Nyquist's punishment should be, and it's a good question. The Swede is not a repeat offender and Spurgeon appears to be relatively unscathed. Still, the optics of this foul are as bad as they can get. Naturally the Twitterverse is calling for extreme penalties of 10-20 games, but it's unlikely that Nyquist will get anything more than, say, 5 or 7.

Check out the between-period reaction from NBC commentators Mike Milbury and Keith Jones. Jones says that Nyquist would have been "beaten to a pulp" if this was a few years ago. Milbury says that the NHL should be able to review such hits and eject a player from the game after the fact.

The Ref who made the call had a pretty good look at this play. There's really no excuse for not ejecting Nyquist here. More important will be the reaction of the Department of Player safety to this hit. Most are already worried about the fact that the DOPS is notoriously lenient on first-time offenders. Clearly, a message needs to be sent here. Nyquist went above and beyond to hurt Spurgeon on this play, so the DOPS should match his zeal and throw the book at him. Ten games would be great. Doubt that it will happen, though.