The Minnesota Wild are trying to become the Los Angeles Kings’ number one enemy this season, starting with twin overtime losses in the opening series between the two and culminating in Thursday night’s 5-3 loss.
Five and a half minutes into the second period on Thursday night, Wild forward Kevin Fiala was assessed a major penalty and game misconduct for boarding Kings defender Matt Roy. The two were battling for a puck in the corner, when Fiala sent Roy head-first into the boards. Roy had to be assisted off the ice following the hit.
He had a hearing with the NHL’s Department of Player Safety, which resulted in the three-game suspension.
Cited in the Department of Player Safety video explanation of the decision to suspend Fiala is that Fiala was chasing Roy’s numbers throughout the play. It was not a case where a player turned at the last moment, which can sometimes turn what would’ve been a legal check into an illegal check. Instead, Roy’s back is facing Fiala for the majority of the play, putting the onus on him to find an angle of approach to make the hit legally or avoid it all together. They also cited Roy sustaining an injury on the play and Fiala being a first-time offender in making their decision.
Per the CBA, Fiala will forfeit $77,586.21 of his salary to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.
The two teams will meet again in a few weeks, with another two-game series in Los Angeles on February 13 and 16.