Blues forward Ryan Reaves will not face any added discipline for his hit on Chicago defenseman Christian Ehrhoff in Wednesday’s shootout win.
The hit that was in question came at the 17:43 mark of the first period. Ehrhoff was retrieving a puck behind the Blackhawks’ net when Reaves closed in for the hit and initiated a sizable collision with the defenseman. Ehrhoff was shaken up on the play and Reaves was assessed a five-minute major for charging and a game misconduct.
“I definitely didn’t think it warranted me being kicked out of the game,” admitted Reaves. “If you look at all my hits, I don’t ever charge. It’s not the way I hit, not really the way I know how to hit. I keep my feet planted.”
Replays clearly showed that Reaves’ exit from the game was unnecessary as the forward’s check did not target Ehrhoff’s head nor did Reaves leave his feet until after the contact had already been made. The main force of the hit was taken by Ehrhoff’s chest.
“You could probably see that I disagreed with the call yesterday,” said Reaves. “I think the league did, too. It was a clean hit.”
Making matters worse, the call ended up determining part of the game’s outcome, as the resulting power play led to one of the two regulation goals scored by Chicago. Without that power-play tally, the Blues perhaps would have gained two points on the Blackhawks in a tight Central Division race. Instead, St. Louis inched closer by just a single point.
“I thought the guys did a good job (only allowing one goal),” said Reaves. “I put them in a tough situation, whether or not it was a good call.”
The NHL’s Department of Player Safety did review the hit, but deemed it clean. The Blues learned Thursday that the league had also rescinded the game misconduct and erased it from Reaves’ record. If it had remained, it could have played a part in any possible future disciplines.
Part of the issue surrounding this instance was that Reaves is fresh off a three-game suspension issued two weeks ago following a dangerous check on San Jose defenseman Matt Tennyson. But despite being known for his physical presence, that was the first run-in Reaves has had with the Department of Player Safety.
“I’ve been in the league six, seven years and hadn’t had an incident until this year,” said Reaves. “I know how to play physical, how to hit and do it clean but still do it hard. It’s not going to change.”
Head coach Ken Hitchcock refused to comment on the call or the hit but Reaves is expected to play Friday against Anaheim.