What's Buzzing:

Puck Daddy

Mike Rupp suspended four games for Oshie hit, as Hitchcock calls Walz's comments 'disgusting'

Harrison Mooney
Puck Daddy

View photo

ST. PAUL, MN - APRIL 10: T.J. Oshie #74 of the St. Louis Blues is checked on by a member of the St. Louis Blues training staff during the game against the Minnesota Wild on April 10, 2014 at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota. (Photo by Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images)

Even more concerning than the St. Louis Blues 4-2 loss to the Minnesota Wild on Thursday night, their fourth consecutive defeat, was the loss of T.J. Oshie, who left the game in the second period after suffering a vicious hit from Mike Rupp.

Carrying the puck up the boards, Oshie passed it off to Vladimir Sobotka at the point, then began to curl to the inside of the ice. There, Rupp stepped into him. The hit was late, it was to the head, and Oshie suffered an injury. For this, Rupp has been suspended four games:

It's a damning verdict, and Patrick Burke pulls no punches in explaining why it's suspendable.

"Well after Oshie releases the puck, Rupp drives his left shoulder into Oshie's head, making it the main point of contact and causing an injury. This is both an illegal check to the head and interference.

"If he wants to attempt to hit Oshie, he must do so within the allowable timeframe and in a legal manner. He does neither. Rupp hits Oshie at a point when he is no longer to be hit and in doing so, he takes an angle that picks Oshie's head."

The hit is nigh indefensible.

Which is what makes the defence from former Wild player turned analyst Wes Walz, tweeted a little earlier in the day, so strange:

The "send a message" comment refers to a late March article from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, where both Barrett Jackman and Alex Pietrangelo stressed the importance of establishing their game against a Wild team that looked, at that time, like their probable first-round playoff opponents. 

But one assumes headhunting is hardly the sort of message-sending they were alluding to. I would say that Walz's comments were off-base. 

Ken Hitchcock went one step further, calling them disgusting.

"The comments by Wes Walz, knowing the [Wild] coaching staff the way I do, I don’t believe they would condone those comments," he told Jeremy Rutherford, "and quite frankly with a player getting hurt like that, they’re just disgusting."

Backing up Hitchcock's comments was Wild coach Darryl Sydor, who made sure to note that the hit wasn't an attempt to send a message. "We didn't mark anybody," he said. 

View Comments (90)
  • Sharks D Martin set to face former team

    Sharks D Martin set to face former team

    Back when the playoffs started nearly seven weeks ago, San Jose Sharks defenseman Paul Martin wondered what it would be like to play his old teammates in Pittsburgh in the Stanley Cup Final. There were plenty of steps needed before that could … More »

    AP - Sports - 34 minutes ago
  • Stanley Cup Final Preview: Who has the better aesthetics?

    Stanley Cup Final Preview: Who has the better aesthetics?

    Leading up to Monday's Game 1, Puck Daddy is previewing every facet of the Stanley Cup Final between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the San Jose Sharks — on the ice and off the ice. … More »

    Puck Daddy - 2 hours 13 minutes ago
  • OT win gives London Memorial Cup title

    OT win gives London Memorial Cup title

    Matthew Tkachuk scored his second goal of the game 7:49 into overtime to give the London Knights a 3-2 victory over the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies on Sunday in the Memorial Cup championship game. ''It actually might have hit off (Christian Dvorak's) … More »

    AP - Sports - 3 hours ago
  • Stanley Cup Final Preview: Who has the better defense?

    Stanley Cup Final Preview: Who has the better defense?

    The San Jose Sharks and the Pittsburgh Penguins are both known for the blazing team speed. That doesn’t just go for their scoring prowess, but also their defense. … More »

    Puck Daddy - 4 hours ago
  • Penguins and Sharks meet, finally, in Stanley Cup Finals

    Penguins and Sharks meet, finally, in Stanley Cup Finals

    The 2016 Stanley Cup Finals could be billed as the what-took-you-so-long championship series. The Pittsburgh Penguins and San Jose Sharks, which begin their best-of-seven series in Pittsburgh on Monday, were expected to meet in the final -- not … More »

    Reuters - 4 hours ago