For a game between two non-playoff teams, there was plenty of drama in New Jersey on Sunday and it centred around P.K. Subban.
The Devils defenceman was ejected in the second period of the matchup with the New York Islanders for reacting to a hit laid by Islanders winger Oliver Wahlstrom on Subban’s star teammate Jack Hughes.
Wahlstrom lays a hit on Hughes and then Subban goes after Wahlstrom pic.twitter.com/Tx8qsrn6l5
— Rob Taub (@RTaub_) April 3, 2022
Subban received a total of 27 penalty minutes for his actions: a five-minute fighting major, a two-minute instigator penalty, a 10-minute game misconduct instigator penalty, and a 10-minute game misconduct aggressor penalty.
As for Hughes, he went straight to the locker room after the hit from Wahlstrom and did not return. There was no official update after the game on the extent of the 20-year-old’s injury.
— Shayna (@hayyyshayyy) April 3, 2022
According to some folks, Subban was lucky that he got a referee escort off the ice after unloading on Wahlstrom.
“He was very fortunate he got kicked out of the game,” Islanders head coach Barry Trotz said after his team's 4-3 win. “I thought [Wahlstrom] played through him. Awful looking, but again, I think Hughes tried to jump back and avoid the hit so it looked worse than it really is. …Subban sort of jumped [Wahlstrom]; if you’re going to do it, eye him up and go at it. That’s where my anger was.”
Whether it would have been Matt Martin, Cal Clutterbuck, or any of the other Islanders who have had their fair share of heavyweight bouts, Trotz is certainly right that if Subban was left on the ice, the box score would have looked more like an MMA pay-per-view card than a hockey game.
Fortunately for the Devils, that was their last game of the season against the Islanders. But we all know NHL players tend to have lengthy memories when it comes to dirty hits and retaliation. We’ll have to see where this goes in the fall.
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