Although it was never truly in question, every Minnesota Wild fan can breathe a little bit better on Wednesday afternoon.
Announced by the NHL’s Department of Player Safety, Kirill Kaprizov will be fined $5,000 for roughing Los Angeles Kings defenseman Drew Doughty on Tuesday night. He will not be suspended whatsoever, but will have his wallet a little bit lighter.
The official ruling is “roughing” despite the incident being regarded as a high-sticking violation that ended up being a match penalty and Kaprizov was kicked out of the game.
We can try and determine what we think, but in the end, it wasn’t so bad.
Keep in mind that Kaprizov was already kicked out of the game for doing this and — even though the NHL doesn’t take this into consideration — the call on the ice cost the Wild the game as they suffered a simple 1-0 defeat.
As always, more context is needed than the player just whacking another one in the face. When you see the entire play, and how Doughty was pestering Kaprizov all along the boards before the check, it was just retaliation.
And the official ruling being considered “roughing” reflects that. It wasn’t a high-stick violation or anything like that, but it will go down as roughing and Kaprizov has been fined more for retaliating against Doughty than the actual act itself, if we are reading the tea leaves correctly.
All in all, the good news is that Kaprizov will be in the lineup as the Wild visit the Anaheim Ducks in an important game that can hopefully get their season back on track. They have gone now two games without scoring a single goal, so losing their leading goal scorer because of a silly little play would have resulted in a depressing game to watch.
It’s now water under the bridge, until the Wild face the Kings once again.
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