As originally reported by The Athletic’s Michael Russo, the National Hockey League’s Department of Player Safety announced that they would be holding a hearing to determine the supplemental discipline for the Minnesota Wild’s Kevin Fiala stemming from his dangerous hit on the Los Angeles Kings’ Matt Roy during their game on Thursday night.
We now know the resolution of that hearing: Fiala has been suspended for three games.
Minnesota’s Kevin Fiala has been suspended for three games for Boarding Los Angeles’ Matt Roy. https://t.co/i6vUnV1Q0b— NHL Player Safety (@NHLPlayerSafety) January 29, 2021
The biggest immediate impact of Fiala’s suspension is that he will miss most of the upcoming four-game series against the Colorado Avalanche, the team that was predicted to win the West division and is currently tied with the Wild in the standings at 5-3-0.
While the suspension was absolutely warranted considering the dangerousness of the hit, it comes a terrible time for Fiala personally as the Wild winger had finally caught a bit of a hot streak. Fiala has goals in three of Minnesota’s last four games, including one prior to his major-game misconduct penalty on Thursday night.
In the meantime, the Wild will likely call up Iowa Wild forward Gerald “#GerryTime” Mayhew to fill in on the roster while Fiala is serving his time. Mayhew scored 2 goals in 13 games with the Wild last season, and has shined in the American Hockey League over the past two seasons, leading Iowa in goals in the regular season and led Iowa during their Calder Cup Playoff run in 2019, scoring nine goals and two assists.
As further evidence that it’s #GerryTime, the Wild announced today that Mayhew had been added back to the Wild’s taxi squad, while two other players were sent down to Iowa.
The #mnwild today reassigned forward Gerald Mayhew to its taxi squad and reassigned goalie Dereck Baribeau and defenseman Louie Belpedio to the @IAWild.— Minnesota Wild (@mnwild) January 29, 2021
Fiala’s spot will likely be filled by rookie Kirill Kaprizov in the short term, as head coach Dean Evason will have to shuffle the rest of the lineup for the second time in as many games after his decision to elevate Joel Eriksson Ek paid immediate dividends in the Wild’s 5-3 win over the Kings. We should find out exactly what Evason plans to do during Saturday’s morning skate ahead of the Wild’s first matchup with Colorado this season.