The NHL Department of Player Safety came down relatively hard on the Detroit Red Wings’ Gus Nyquist on Wednesday, handing him a six game suspension for his reckless high stick to the face of Minnesota’s Jared Spurgeon in the 1st period of Sunday’s game.

Nyquist isn’t seen as a dirty player by any means prior to this incident, but the NHL thought a message needed to be sent that this type of retaliatory play isn’t going to be taken lightly. The Red Wings forward was offered an in-person hearing, meaning the suspension could be 6 games or more. He declined, and instead had a phone hearing this afternoon. The NHL cited that the play was not an incident at all, and that it was clear Nyquist knew at the time what he was doing. Nyquist said during the hearing that he meant to give Spurgeon a cross check in retaliation to the one he himself received, but could get his stick around Spurgeon’s face.

Nyquist will miss games against the Blues, Capitals, Penguins, Islanders, Canucks, and Flames and will be eligible to return when the Wings take on the Oilers to finish a Western Canadian swing.

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