Wild enforcer Ryan Reaves lays huge open-ice hit on Red Wings defenseman

Ryan Reaves will undoubtedly be present in Detroit Red Wings fans' nightmares the Minnesota Wild's 4-1 win on Wednesday. (Reuters)

Ryan Reaves is reminding the hockey world why he's still one of the most feared players in the NHL today.

In the first period of Wednesday night’s game against the Detroit Red Wings, Reaves delivered a bone-crushing hit to defenseman Filip Hronek, who was skating the puck out of his own end.

Reaves was not penalized on the play. Hronek was left bloodied and stayed down for several moments before skating off with the help of some of his teammates.

The Red Wings later announced that the 25-year-old would not return to the contest.

Predictably, opinion was dividing online over the legality of the hit, as some argued that the head was targeted and was the principal point of contact.

Others defended the hit as a clean play and, despite the unfortunate injury to Hronek, were satisfied with the throwback style of the collision.

Reaves continued his physical play in the second frame, muscleing Gustav Lindstrom into the boards in the corner, prompting a reaction from Ben Chiarot, who had had enough of Reaves' antics. Chiarot and Reaves - listed at 6-foot-3 and 6-foot-2, respectively - squared off in a short fight before being separated and assessed five minute majors.

Reaves flexed his bicep after the fight, raising the Xcel Energy Center crowd to their feet.

Reaves was only inches away from putting the proverbial cherry on top of his big night, placing a shot just wide of an empty net that would have put the game to bed.

Frederick Gaudreau would add an empty netter to secure Minnesota's 4-1 win moments later.

The Red Wings may have the NHL on TNT panel to blame for motivating Reaves on Wednesday, as panelist and former NHLer Paul Bissonnette chirped the 35-year-old in a pre-game interview, causing a hilarious exchange on live TV.

Reaves was acquired from the Rangers on Nov. 25 for a fifth-round draft pick in 2025 after the enforcer reportedly requested a move out of New York. The 15-year veteran has three assists and 14 penalty minutes in 21 games in 2022-23.

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