June 4: Speaking with the media today, Scheifele explained that though he had the option to appeal, he has decided not to.
June 3: The Department of Player Safety has reached a verdict in the case of Mark Scheifele, handing out a four-game suspension to the Winnipeg Jets forward. Scheifele will miss games two through five of the Jets’ second-round series against the Montreal Canadiens with his team already down 1-0.
As the accompanying video explains:
Scheifele, moving with excessive momentum gained from travelling a considerable distance, finishes his check violently and with excessive force into Evans, making significant head contact in the process and causing an injury.
The league also acknowledged Scheifele’s argument that the distance was travelled with the idea of trying to break up Jake Evans’ empty-net goal attempt but felt that him not attempting to make a play on the puck meant that he was conceding the goal, leading to the following:
Instead, it is apparent to our department that his intention on this play is to deliver a hard, violent check to an opponent with the outcome of both the play and the game already having been decided. In short, this is a player who has travelled a considerable distance, is moving with exceptional speed, and is fully aware of his momentum who chooses to charge into a vulnerable opponent with a high, predatory hit that causes an injury.
The incident occurred at the very end of the game as Evans scored a game-clinching empty-net goal, and resulted in the Canadiens’ forward lying on the ice unconscious. Evans was eventually stretchered off the ice but did not require hospitalization. According to Montreal head coach Dominique Ducharme, the young forward (who turned 25 last night) suffered a concussion but is recovering.
For Scheifele, it means that he will miss a good chunk of this series should the Jets fail to come out victorious without their star center. Now 28, he recorded his fifth consecutive point-per-game campaign in 2020-21, scoring 63 in 56 during the regular season. In the first-round sweep against the Edmonton Oilers, Scheifele recorded five points but was kept completely off the board by Phillip Danault and company last night.
He received a five-minute major and game misconduct for the hit on Evans and also did not have a history of supplementary discipline. Still, he’ll now miss four games in the North Division deciding series.
TSN’s Darren Dreger was the first to report the suspension.