The late, blindside hit from Vegas Golden Knights forward Ryan Reaves sent Capitals forward Tom Wilson crashing down. Wilson’s helmet popped off and his head bounced on the T-Mobile Arena ice.
Reaves was ejected from Tuesday’s game, a 5-3 Vegas win, and Wilson, who sustained a concussion, will miss Thursday’s game. Washington Coach Todd Reirden said Wilson is “day-to-day” while he recovers.
And Reaves? He signed 16-by-20 inch copies of a photograph that show Wilson dazed on the ice as Reaves is escorted away, posts on social media indicated. On each picture, Reaves wrote the message he gave reporters after Tuesday’s game: “He ran into a lion in the jungle.”
Inscriptagraphs, a Las Vegas-based memorabilia dealer, called the photos the “must have Christmas Gift of the Year” in a since-deleted tweet and Instagram post. Though apparently, no one will be getting them.
Vegas Golden Knights spokesman Eric Tosi said in an email the photos “were not distributed and they have been destroyed.”
Inscriptagraphs removed the signed photographs from its website and eBay on Thursday evening. Representatives from the company did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Reaves’s agent also could not be reached.
Wilson and Reaves, both physical players, have a history with one another. The pair have fought twice in their careers, both times when Reaves played for St. Louis.
Wilson has been on a tear during his suspension-shortened season, with eight goals and six assists in 11 games. He has a reputation in the league, one that wasn’t helped his illegal check to the head of St. Louis’s Oskar Sundqvist in September. The NHL’s Department of Player Safety suspended him 20 games for that, though his suspension was later reduced upon appeal.
Reaves was assessed a five-minute major for interference Tuesday and was ejected for the hit on Wilson, but was not suspended.
“Reaves targeted him the entire game,” Reirden said Tuesday. “You could hear it on every faceoff. You could hear the things that were being said. It’s a blind-side hit where an unsuspecting player hits his head on the ice. That’s disappointing. You could put two and two together, but he targeted him the entire game, so you can figure that out from there.”
The Capitals face the Arizona Coyotes on Thursday night and visit the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday at 7 p.m.
Staff writer Isabelle Khurshudyan contributed to this report.
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