Golden Knights forward Ryan Reaves ended up with a chunk of hair and a suspension after Sunday’s Game 1 loss to Colorado.
After an in-game fight with Avalanche defenseman Ryan Graves, Reaves received a two-game suspension by the NHL for roughing/unsportsmanlike conduct.
The scuffle occurred in the third period when Reaves punched Graves in the back of the head, grabbed him by the neck and threw him to the ice. While Graves was on his back, Reaves continued to go after him, despite referees and players on both teams trying to intervene.
Reaves’ actions led to two minor penalties for roughing and a match penalty. Graves was able to finish out the remainder of Colorado’s 7-1 win.
In a suspension video, the league explained the situation and said Reaves pulled out a portion of Graves’ hair in the scrum.
“Reaves continues the altercation, using his body weight to force Graves’ head into the ice,” the league said, according to USA Today. “As both the officials and other players attempt unsuccessfully to separate the two, Reaves continues to push forcefully down on the vulnerable Graves, eventually ripping his helmet off. “
During this scrum, both the officials and Reaves acknowledge that a “chunk of Graves’ hair was pulled out by Reaves.”
Reaves will be eligible to return in Game 4 in the best-of-seven series.
Reaves appeared to target Graves — whom the Rangers traded to Colorado in 2018 — after the Avalanche defenseman was called for interference for a hit against Knights forward Mattias Janmark earlier in the second period. Janmark did not return to Game 1 after the hit, and Graves received a two-minute minor.
“Reaves is on a mission to hurt somebody in the third, and that’s what he goes out and does,” Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog told reporters after Game 1.
Knights head coach Peter DeBoer defended Reaves and admitted that emotions got the best of him.
“I think obviously the Graves hit on Janmark and Janmark leaving with the injury, you know, that’s tough to watch, a defenseless player and one of your teammates getting hit like that. You know, it’s hard not to carry that emotion through the rest of the game,” DeBoer said.
Reaves previously served a one-game suspension in the 2020 playoffs for an illegal check to Canucks forward Tyler Motte’s head in Game 7 of the Western Conference semifinals.
Before that, Reaves was suspended three games in 2016 when he was on the Blues for boarding Sharks defenseman Matt Tennyson.