DENVER — Per NHL rules, Vegas Golden Knights fourth-liner Ryan Reaves is suspended indefinitely. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman must rule on the match penalty Reaves incurred in the third period of the Golden Knights 7-1 Game 1 loss to the Colorado Avalanche
Reaves essentially dropped his knee onto Ryan Graves’s head in a wild third period at Ball Arena.
However, Reaves and the Golden Knights didn’t exactly feel Reaves was unprovoked.
Midway through the second period, Graves caught VGK forward Mattias Janmark in the corner. After Janmark played the puck, he turned to look at the play, and Graves thundered through him with his forearm high. Graves’ made hard contact with Janmark in the high chest, neck area. Janmark ragdolled into the boards.
He had to be helped off the ice. Graves received only an interference minor.
“Defenseless player. Blindside. Interference. Obviously, (we) didn’t like the hit. We lost the player…Trying to get those out of the game,” Vegas winger Mark Stone said. “…but you’re down 4-0, you try to get yourselves into the game. You try to get physical. We kind of got away from our game. But let’s be honest here, if you’re down 4-0 halfway through the game, that’s a long way to climb out from.”
Yes, the Golden Knights got physical. They’re a bigger, stronger team, and they have the sheriff, Ryan Reaves.
Midway through the third period, after numerous post-whistle scrums, a few shoving matches, fash washes, and frivolity, Reaves got his hands on Graves.
“We talked about in the third period, let’s try to get our game in a good place for Game 2. Let’s have a good period. I thought, for the most part, we went out and did that,” head coach Pete DeBoer said. “I think emotions get away. Obviously, the Graves hit on Janmark–Janmark leaving with the injury–that’s tough to watch.”
We’ll let it go that DeBoer thinks the Golden Knights got to their game (hint: they didn’t, especially with a nine-minute Colorado power play to kill).
“A defenseless player and one of your teammates getting hit like that,” DeBoer concluded. “It’s hard not to carry that emotion through the rest of the game.”
Here’s the hit on Janmark.
About four minutes into the final period, the fun started when VGK defenseman Nicolas Hague and Colorado forward Andre Burakovsky tangled for roughing minors. Simultaneously, Max Pacioretty and J.T. Compher had a little dust-up.
However, the main event came four minutes later when Reaves grabbed Graves, slammed him to the ice, and began kneeing him or putting his knee on his throat.
Yeah, you can’t do that. Not even in a hockey melee. Not even in a hockey melee in the NHL playoffs. Ryan Reaves received a double minor for roughing and a Match Penalty. Per NHL rules, the match penalty means Reaves is suspended until NHL commissioner Gary Bettman reviews the incident and rules on an appropriate punishment.
Bettman could suspend Reaves or reinstate him, with the penalty time being a sufficient punishment. We don’t think the latter happens. Reaves will unlikely be available to the Vegas Golden Knights for Game 2 on Wednesday in Colorado. He could be out beyond that, too.
Match penalties are not given out lightly, and they are reviewed on the ice, too.
VHN will update the story as Reaves or Graves received additional punishment for the slop fest that became Game 1.