MINNEAPOLIS - The Minnesota Wild will be without one of its top offensive threats for a least a few games after a dangerous hit Thursday night in a 5-3 win over the L.A. Kings at Xcel Energy Center.
Kevin Fiala was assessed a five minute major and a game misconduct after being penalized for boarding. He hit Kings’ defenseman Matt Roy from behind in the second period, about five minutes in, and Roy went head first into the boards.
After being down on the ice for a few minutes, Roy got back to his bench and appeared to be OK. Fiala was ejected from the game. Fiala had a hearing with the NHL's Player Safety panel on Friday, and was issued a three-game suspension. During the hearing, Fiala told NHL officials he did not intend to cause the impact, but admitted it was delivered at a high rate of speed and at a dangerous distance from the boards. League officials said the onus was on Fiala to change the hit angle, avoid the hit or minimize the contact.
NHL officials said Fiala's hit was not a result of Roy turning his back right before contact, and that Fiala was entirely in control of how the play developed. As a result of the suspension, Fiala will forfeit $77,586.21 in salary. That money goes to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.
Fiala has three goals in eight games this season, including a first period score Thursday night that gave the Wild a 2-0 lead.
Fiala’s hit wasn’t the only scary moment in Thursday’s game. Matt Dumba, who has one of the hardest slap shots in the NHL, accidentally hit Sean Marks in the face during the third period. Marks was bleeding profusely and had to be helped off the ice before going back to the locker room. He did not return to the game.
Dumba was apologetic about hitting him after the game. The Wild is back in action Saturday night, hosting the Colorado Avalanche.