Pulling out a man’s hair and trying to crush his skull on a hard sheet of ice? Two games.
Ryan Reaves’ punishment for doing that against Avs defenseman Ryan Graves last night, was administered today by the NHL Department of Player Safety. This department is NOT affiliated with the Department of Redundancy Department, as authored by Joseph Heller.
This is what I predicted all day to be the punishment, after hearing in the morning that Reaves would get just a “hearing” and not an “in-person (Zoom)” hearing.
My personal opinion on this kind of stuff goes like this: The decision is based on the injury to the victim, and not the act itself. If Ryan Graves stayed down and had suffered some kind of serious head injury that the Avs said would keep him out for the rest of this series? Then, Reaves probably gets suspended for 6-7 games, maybe more.
But Graves is a tough kid who doesn’t whine about things, so he played on after presumably being cleared by the Avs/NHL concussion people. Vegas was mad about his hit on Mattias Janmark, and it’s fair game to want to hit him hard after something like that. I mean, I believe in that kind of old-testament brand of hockey.
But trying to crush a man’s head into the hard ice, not to mention a flurry of other sucker-punches and a blindside, hogie takedown?
No, that’s over the line. That’s not being a true tough guy. That’s being a coward.
Reaves got the two games because of the politics of the situation. Graves somehow escaped not being seriously hurt. Reaves has a suspension history, but not as serious a suspension history of, say, a Nazem Kadri. So, that mattered in this decision. Reaves no doubt still has some favoritism among the old-boy network of the “hockey code”, in that he was just “sticking up for a teammate” with what he did. Former NHL enforcer George Parros is from that old-school crowd.
To quote Todd Bertuzzi: “It is what it is.” I think, as Avs fans hoping for some real justice against a Vegas Golden Knights player, we all have to just count our blessings. Part of me also though Reaves might escape with just a fine.
So, for him to get any kind of suspension is a good baby-steps start to some overdue justice against Ryan Reaves.