Dean Evason, Wild Players Furious After Cheap Shot on Kirill Kaprizov

Photo: NHL.com

The Minnesota Wild got an ESPN primetime spot last night at TD Garden matched up against one of the “Original Six“, Boston Bruins. Bright lights or dull, they needed a victory having lost five-straight entering the game. Thankfully, they got the win (in nail-biting 3-2 fashion) but it came with a cost.

Injuries and absences have already piled up for the Wild, who entered the game skating just 11 forwards and without their Captain defenseman, Jared Spurgeon. But last night, it was superstar Russian forward, Kirill Kaprizov who exited the game in the 2nd period and never returned.

The worst part? His game-ending injury happened on a dirty hit by the Bruins 23-year-old hot shot defenseman, Trent Frederic, who was looking for trouble all night long.

Cheap Shot Fallout

Minnesota Wild players immediately reacted as if the hit was cheap and, while Kaprizov tried to get himself up and off the ice, his Russian confidant Dmitry Kulikov defended his honor. While valiant, Kulikov’s effort was unsuccessful. Frederic kicked his ass and the bout ended quickly.

So early in the 3rd period, Marcus Foligno took the ice and tapped Frederic for round 2 of his punishment. Here’s a little advice for anyone who might need some: If a guy who’s nicknamed “Moose” challenges you to a battle of physical strength, you should run away. Unfortunately for Trent Frederic, that probably didn’t feel like an option.

Evason, Teammates Sound Off

When the dust settled after the 3rd period and the Wild limped off the ice with victory in hand, the cheap shot on Kirill Kaprizov was on the front of everyone’s mind. Head coach, Dean Evason, called for the league to take action against Frederic and termed the hit “predatorial”.

Dmitry Kulikov, who got beat up after the check from behind, also called it “dirty”, pointing out that Kirill was obviously in a vulnerable position when Frederic hit him. If Kulikov and Evason saw it as a cheap shot in real time then this isn’t one of those situations where slowing the video down makes it look worse.

“Really frustrated with how Kirill got hurt,” Evason sounded off. “I mean, it’s a predatorial hit, one that the league … I mean, we don’t want that, right? The puck is sitting right there. You know what he’s doing. He’s going to hurt our best player. There’s no question that there is no intention … that is not a hockey play. The puck’s sitting right there. All he has to do is take the puck and go. And in a vulnerable position, you hit a player from behind.”

Dean Evason (via The Athletic)

“To me, on the ice, it looked like a dirty hit,” Kulikov said. “He was coming in and Kirill was in a vulnerable position, and he still went for a hit. You don’t want to see your teammate go down like that. Just unfortunate that he left the game.”

Dmitry Kulikov (via Star Tribune)

Frederic Denies Intent

When asked about the hit afterward, Trent Frederic denied any intent and said he was only trying to finish his check. Bruins head coach, Bruce Cassidy, said the same thing, though he did admit that his team would’ve reacted the same way the Wild did, had one of their star players been on the other end of the same hit.

Unfortunately, their lies aren’t going to get Kirill Kaprizov back on the ice any faster.

“Hope he’s all right. Obviously didn’t mean to hurt him. I was just going to make a hockey play, finish a check. I haven’t really seen it, but I think he kind of fell as I was doing it. It’s hard to kind of pull off that.”

Trent Frederic (via The Athletic)

“I don’t think there was any malicious intent other than separating him from the puck, which you better do. Or he’ll hurt you, right? You’ve just got to do it in a legal manner. I thought it looked clean from my point. They didn’t see it that way. Obviously Minnesota’s going to react. It’s one of their best players. I get that. We would do the same.”

Bruce Cassidy (via The Athletic)

Dean Evason said after the game that the injury “doesn’t look good”. If the Minnesota Wild are going to regain their footing in the Western Conference standings, they need their best players find their way back into the lineup, not have more exits.

Boldy and Rossi Looked Great

On the bright side of last night’s win, both Matt Boldy and Marco Rossi looked great in their NHL debuts. Boldy scored his first career goal but both played on top lines and on the power play. Neither looked in over their head and both gave Wild fans a lot to be excited about.

Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan