DENVER — Ryan Reaves has been suspended for two games by the NHL Department of Player Safety for his actions in the third period of the Vegas Golden Knights 7-1 loss to the Colorado Avalanche on Sunday night.
Reaves retaliated on Colorado Avalanche defenseman Ryan Graves, who injured Golden Knights forward Mattias Janmark in the second period with a late, high hit.
Per the league video announcing the suspension, Reaves also got a chunk of Graves’ hair.
“As both the officials and other players attempt unsuccessfully to separate the two, Reaves continues to push forcefully down on the vulnerable Graves, eventually ripping his helmet off,” the suspension video said. “During this scrum, both the officials and Reaves acknowledge that a chunk of Graves’ hair was pulled out by Reaves.”
Ryan Reaves will miss Game 2 on Wednesday and Game 3 on Friday in Vegas.
Janmark left the game and did not return. As of Monday morning, Golden Knights coach Pete DeBoer did not yet have an update on Janmark.
“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 of Graves hit.
Reaves threw Graves to the ice in the third period and appeared to knee him multiple times as referees tried to pull Reeves out of the pile of players.
The NHL has been conducting those elevated level hearings via Zoom during the pandemic, but Reaves did not receive an “in-person” hearing and was not subject to the increased potential of a five or more game suspension.
“I think emotions get away. Obviously, the Graves hit on Janmark; Janmark leaving with the injury–that’s tough to watch,” Golden Knights Pete DeBoer said.
Ryan Reaves received a double minor roughing penalty and a Match penalty. The brawl resulted in a nine-minute Colorado Avalanche power play.
Reaves was suspended for one game in last year’s playoffs and is considered a repeat offender.