Minnesota Wild forward Mike Rupp has been suspended four games by the NHL's department of player safety for an illegal head check on St. Louis Blues forward T.J. Oshie Thursday night. The suspension will carry into the playoffs as the Wild have just one regular-season game remaining.
It was a bad hit that knocked Oshie out of the game and will keep him out of the Blues' lineup Friday against the Dallas Stars in an important game for playoff positioning for both teams. Rupp received a game misconduct for the hit in the second period.
Four games is a harsh penalty, but a deserved one. Oshie was vulnerable, his head was the primary point of contact and he was injured. As we've come to know, the injury is a factor in any NHL player safety decision. Also important, obviously, Oshie didn't have the puck. The Blues are listing Oshie as day-to-day.
Thursday night's game was the first time in the Wild's last 23 that Rupp had been in the lineup. He is unlikely to play in the postseason anyway and his contract is up at the end of the season, so this suspension is unlikely to have impact on the Wild's plans going forward.
This was the player safety department's first decision without the guidance of Brendan Shanahan, who assumed the role of president and alternate governor for the Toronto Maple Leafs Friday. Stephane Quintal has taken over Shanahan's responsibilities for the remainder of the season.