Ryan Hartman from the Minnesota Wild has been given a one-game suspension due to his interference with Nikolaj Ehlers of the Winnipeg Jets. This means he won’t be able to play in the last regular-season game on Thursday night, but will be ready for the playoffs. The Department of Player Safety made this announcement Wednesday after they had a phone disciplinary hearing with Hartman. The Wild team have already secured their spot as third seed in the Central Division.
The Minnesota team would have missed Game 1 of their first-round series if the suspension for Hartman was any longer. They will play on the road against either Dallas or the previous Stanley Cup winner Colorado.
Hartman hit Ehlers even though he didn’t have the puck during a game in Minnesota on Tuesday night and only got a minor penalty for interference.
“They put him in a bad spot,” said Jets coach Rick Bowness. “It’s not nice to see these kinds of hits.”
The league agreed and said in the video, it was “a hard hit on someone who wasn’t expecting or ready for it.” They also didn’t accept Hartman`s explanation that he was just trying to brace himself for contact.
After the Jets won a game that got them a spot in the playoffs, Bowness didn’t give any information about Ehlers’ condition.
Hartman has been suspended for this before, one playoff game back in 2018 because of an illegal hit to Gabriel Landeskog’s head while he was playing with Nashville. On top of that, Hartman has also been fined six times and must give $9,189 to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund as his punishment this time.
The game between two rivals was wild and led to some tough punishments. Hartman got suspended, 51 penalty minutes were shared among the teams and even the coaches yelled at each other. Neal Pionk from Jets got a $5,000 fine for cross-checking Marcus Johansson from Wild in the last minute.
When talking about the game, Winnipeg goaltender Connor Hellebuyck said that both teams were playing quite hard but things got a bit too rough and out of control. He figured the referees should have stepped in sooner to take care of it better. That’s what happens in playoff hockey – things can get pretty physical. The playoffs begin on Monday.