3:55pm: Morrissey has avoided a suspension altogether, instead receiving a fine from the Department of Player Safety in the sum of $8,467.74. That was the maximum allowable under the CBA for what the league is calling unsportsmanlike conduct.
10:49am: The Washington Capitals are in the middle of another Department of Player Safety hearing, but this time it’s not Tom Wilson’s fault. Instead, Winnipeg Jets defenseman Josh Morrissey will be talking to the league about his incident last night with T.J. Oshie, in which he slammed the Capitals forward to the ice after the puck had rolled away. Morrissey was suspended last spring for cross-checking, meaning he’ll be treated as a repeat offender. The hearing is taking place this afternoon, meaning a ruling should come down before the Jets take on Buffalo tomorrow night.
Morrissey, 23, has developed into one of the premiere two-way defensemen in the league even if he is a little overshadowed by more well-known players in Winnipeg. Selected 13th overall in 2013 he has steadily been given more and more responsibility by head coach Paul Maurice and now averages more ice time than every Jet except Dustin Byfuglien. Losing him for any length of time would certainly hurt Winnipeg’s chances, though they may be positioned better than anyone in the league to fill available minutes.
Interestingly this hearing comes at a time when the Jets are already missing Dmitry Kulikov on the left side, meaning young Sami Niku could be the first option should Morrissey receive a suspension. Niku has been waiting patiently for his first chance this season, but is an impressive talent in his own right that should be getting ice time at either the NHL or AHL level.
As for Oshie, the Capitals were off today so there is no official announcement of his status. If he suffered a major injury on the play the Department of Player Safety will likely impose an even stiffer penalty on Morrissey, but it’s not clear yet whether he’ll be back on the ice for their next game.