In case you missed it last night, Montreal Canadiens forward Jake Evans was stretchered off the ice after receiving an absolutely devastating body check from Winnipeg Jets forward Mark Scheifele.
Here's the hit in question:
Scheifele was assessed a five minute major penalty for charging and a game misconduct. He's also facing a potential suspension after NHL Player Safety scheduled a hearing with him set for later this afternoon.
As for Evans, NHL insider John Shannon reports that he's "alert but shaken."
Check it out:
That's obviously great news, as it looked like Evans could have suffered a serious injury on the play. He's likely still not out of the woods just yet, but the fact that he's alert and awake is obviously a great sign.
As for Scheifele, he's likely looking at a game or two suspension as a result of his careless hit. And don't get me wrong... I don't think Scheifele is entirely to blame on this hit. Is it a bad hit? Absolutely. Should he be punished? Absolutely. But I'd also argue that Evans bears some responsibility on this hit, as well. I strongly feel that the onus of safety must be placed on both players when talking about a big hit.
There's no denying the fact that Scheifele came from too far away (charging) and clearly took advantage of a player in a vulnerable position. There's also no denying the fact that Evans put himself in that position. He has his head down, he has no awareness of Scheifele's positioning and he is 100% eligible to get ROCKED by putting himself in that position. Now... is he eligible to get blown up from 15 feet away? No, that's why there was a penalty on the play.
Again, I might sound like a dinosaur here but I don't think we're having much of a conversation over this hit if Evans puts his head up and braces himself for a big hit. Like I say, the onus has to be on both players when it comes to safety. It's not entirely different than the age old argument of turning into a hit from behind. Evans put himself in a vulnerable position and Scheifele needs to recognize that and stop up. It'll be interesting to see the fallout from NHL Player Safety.