As soon as Gustav Nyquist jabbed his stick into the face of Jared Spurgeon over the weekend, it was clear the Red Wings forward would be suspended. The only question was how long Nyquist would have to sit out as a result of the dirty and dangerous retaliatory play.
On Wednesday, the NHL provided an answer: Six games.
Nyquist waived his right to an in-person hearing with the NHL this week, meaning he received his punishment in an over-the-phone hearing. During that hearing, Nyquist acknowledged that he was agitated by Spurgeon’s cross-check from behind and he got to his feet with the intention of retaliating.
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However, Nyquist insisted that he didn’t mean to drive the blade of his stick into Spurgeon’s face — rather, that he was trying to turn and get his stick around the Minnesota Wild defenseman to respond with a cross-check of his own. The league reportedly accepted that explanation but didn’t absolve Nyquist of what they called a “potentially career-threatening” play. Spurgeon briefly left the game to get stitches in his cheek but later returned.
Nyquist was given a double-minor (but not ejected) on the ice as a result of the incident. The 27-year-old forward has no prior history with the league’s Department of Player Safety, which likely worked in his favor this time around. He’s set to lose $158,333 in game checks as a result of the suspension.