It first looked like Douglas Murray’s hit on Johan Sundstrom was going to be the most controversial of the night, but Mike Rupp went ahead and laid a hit that was clearly much, much worse.
Mid-way through the Blues-Wild game Thursday night, St. Louis’ T.J. Oshie was carrying the puck around the perimeter of Minnesota’s zone when Rupp stepped up and into his head.
This isn’t a question of if there will be a suspension, but for how long it will be.
The Wild have one, meaningless game left in the regular season, but Rupp will presumably be suspended longer than that. Even though suspending a player for playoff games is a much more sensitive issue in the league office, a one-game ban for this would not be easy to swallow. Years ago, this is the exact type of hit that Oshie would have been blamed for and told to keep his head on a swivel. Now, this is the type of hit Rupp has to let up on, or expect discipline.
The 6-foot-5, 230-pound Rupp has only played 13 games this season.
Meanwhile, the suddenly struggling Blues have to be concerned with Oshie’s health. He left the game and afterwards, coach Ken Hitchcock called him “day-to-day,” which could mean anything this close to the playoffs. Oshie is second in team scoring with 60 points and without him, the Blues would have a hole just when they can’t afford one.
The Blues lost the game 4-2, despite outshooting the Wild 45-15. They’ve now lost four in a row and ceded first place in the Central Division to Colorado.