Fans first reacted to Winnipeg Jets’ head coach Paul Maurice defending forward Mark Scheifele on Thursday, saying the centre’s hit on Montreal Canadiens forward Jake Evans was “heavy,” but “clean.”
“For me, the feet are on the ice, the arms are tucked in and it’s a body contact,” he explained to reporters in the team’s off-day Zoom call. “That’s the way I see it.”
As you know, Scheifele was suspended four games for charging Habs’ Jake Evans, who was scoring an empty-net goal to cap a 5-3 win. Immediately after giving his team a two-goal lead, though, he got levelled by the Jets’ star forward on a hard, high and unsuspecting hit.
Maurice met with media members after practice on Friday, ahead of Game 2, and made a fool of himself stating that he expected Scheifele to only get two games.
That’s the man who previously said the hit was clean! So, Paul, two games for a clean hit?
Fans quickly picked up on his confusing comments and have been calling the head coach out on social media since the press conference came to an end.
Scheifele did speak to reporters as well, stating he was shocked with the length of the suspension. He did however revealed that his family has been harassed, which is unacceptable.
“It’s pretty gross to see,” Scheifele said. “My parents are the salt of the earth. For my parents to get hate like that, it’s awful.”
While Scheifele can only return if there is a Game 6 in Winnipeg in this series, led 1-0 by the Habs at the moment, he is fully confident he will play again this season and that his teammates can push the series and win it.
In five playoff games this season, Scheifele has put up two goals and three assists.
Game 2 between the two teams is set for in Winnipeg.