Vegas Golden Knights forward Ryan Reaves was suspended two games by the NHL on Monday for roughing and unsportsmanlike conduct for trying to injure Colorado Avalanche’s Ryan Graves in game 1 of their second round series on Sunday, May 30, 2021.
During the Golden Knights’ 7-1 loss in the game, Reaves hit Graves at the eighth minute of the third period, which led to him getting a match penalty.
The NHL’s Department of Player Safety announced that it was holding a hearing with Reaves on Monday. Soon after, the league posted a video on its site to explain its decision to suspend Reaves.
The NHL said both the officials and Reaves acknowledged that “a chunk of Graves’ hair was pulled out by Reaves” during the game. It also noted that the roughing and unsportsmanlike conduct of Reaves’ actions was “retaliation” for an earlier hit by Graves on Mattias Janmark.
Vegas coach Pete DeBoer defended Reaves, saying: “For me, Ryan is one of the cleanest tough guys I’ve seen in the league in my 12, 13 years. He’s consistently a clean, physical player.”
Regardless, the Avalanche were unimpressed after seeing Graves thrown onto the ice, staying down while the trainers tended to him.
“Graves is down in a vulnerable position, and he just stays on top of him and obviously hits him,” said Avalanche coach Jared Bednar. “So I didn’t like the play. But (DeBoer) knows his player. I guess I don’t think that (Reaves) is out there trying to injure people on purpose. He’s just got a ruggedness to his game.”