Winnipeg Jets defenseman Josh Morrissey was fined $8,467.74 by the NHL Department of Player Safety, the maximum allowable under the league’s collective bargaining agreement, for interference/unsportsmanlike conduct against Capitals forward T.J. Oshie late in Wednesday’s game.
Morrissey slammed Oshie down to the ice in the last minute, and Oshie came up woozy after his head hit the surface.
Capitals Coach Todd Reirden didn’t have an update on Oshie’s health on Wednesday night, but he took issue with the hit. Oshie has four reported concussions in his career, including one last season.
“It’s something I think the league is going to look at,” Reirden said. “It’s similar to a situation that happened in Vancouver earlier in the year — a vulnerable player that’s thrown to the ice. … We’ll see and check in on T.J. I have not talked to our trainer tonight since the end of the game, so I’m not sure exactly where things stand with him.”
Per the league’s CBA, players may be fined up to 50 percent of one day’s average salary without exceeding $10,000 for the first fine and $15,000 for any subsequent fines within a 12-month period.
The previous incident Reirden referenced involved Florida’s Mike Matheson, who forced Vancouver rookie Elias Pettersson down to the ice, causing Pettersson to suffer a concussion. Matheson was suspended for two games for interference/unsportsmanlike conduct. While there are differences between Wednesday night’s incident and the Pettersson one — this wasn’t an act of retaliation on Oshie, and the puck was in the area — the league saw enough similarities for a hearing.
The Capitals also lost center Evgeny Kuznetsov to an apparent concussion in the first period of Wednesday’s game, when defenseman Brandon Tanev clipped him in the head with his elbow.
While that was penalized as an illegal check to the head during the game, it won’t garner more supplemental discipline. The Department of Player Safety determined that Kuznetsov materially changed the position of his body or head immediately before or simultaneously with the hit in a way that significantly contributed to the head contact, and there was also a lack of force that didn’t elevate the hit to suspension-worthy.
The Capitals have an off day in Colorado on Thursday, so there probably won’t be an update on injured players until Friday morning.