St. Louis Blues forward Ryan Reaves was called for a phone hearing by the NHL’s Department of Player Safety this week, regarding an illegal boarding play made by the 29-year old forward against San Jose Sharks blue liner Matt Tennyson on Monday.
Now, the verdict has been handed out – and the Blues skater, who boasts just two goals in 49 games this year, has been given a three game ban for the boarding call, effective immediately.
The official video regarding the suspension, released on Wednesday afternoon, suggested that the hit was illegal from the moment Reaves entered the face-off dot prior to his check; he sees nothing but Tennyson’s back, and therefore the hit is dangerous from the start.
“On Monday night in St. Louis, Blues forward Ryan Reaves delivered a forceful blow to the back of Sharks defenseman Matt Tennyson, driving him forcefully and dangerously into the glass.
As the video shows, Reaves chips the puck into the San Jose zone, then pursues Tennyson on the forecheck. Tennyson arrives first, then stops up in an attempt to reverse the puck. Reaves adjusts his course, then delivers [the] hit to the back of Tennyson’s shoulder, driving him forcefully into the glass. This is boarding.
It is important to note: Tennyson is never eligible to be checked by Reaves on this play. From the moment Reaves arrives at the face-off dot, he sees nothing but Tennyson’s numbers. In addition, while Tennyson does adjust to make a play on the puck, this is not a sudden movement just prior to contact that turns an illegal hit into an illegal one.”
The video suggests that the hit may have been made in anticipation of Tennyson opening up more to receive a check, but that never happens – as a result, the Blues will be without the power forward for the next three games.
This is the first time in his NHL career that Reaves has been suspended, but it’s not his first time in trouble with the NHL’s Department of Player Safety – he saw a maximum fine just last spring for jabbing Kings forward Anze Kopitar.