Ryan Reaves did something stupid in last night's 3-0 loss to the Los Angeles Kings.
In the first period he decked Kings' forward Anze Kopitar with an elbow that forced the player to leave the game. It was reckless, dumb and should warrant some punishment. The refs didn't see it because they were busy following the play UP the ice. You get it? Reaves had no business hitting Kopitar much less with the butt of his stick or his elbow. It was all together bad and wrong. The play was towards the blue line and Reaves could have merely shoved the King. Instead, he acted on impulse and was fined this morning the maximum for roughing. See for yourself.
Look, I like Reaves. He's a fucking bear claw out there on the ice. He throws his weight around like a wild animal and most of the time it's legit "Meet my shoulder the train and eat ice shaves please" encounters. He is a necessary badge out there needed to protect players like Vladimir Tarasenko and Jori Lehtera. Other teams know if they mess with one of the Blues studs, Reaves will Liam Neeson the shit out of them. It's an unwritten rule, even if the refs are little bitches and don't want people fighting(what would Dave Schultz think of this madness?).
The truth is Reaves made a bad decision in trying to level Kopitar. I get it. The game is scoreless. The Blues were dragging ass and a single goal proved to be fatal to a sloppy night of hockey for the Note. Reaves drifts towards the front of the net and merely waved his elbow at Kopitar and caught him good. It was a lazy attempt at a hit and it ended up costing a player the rest of the game and could bring a suspension to Reaves. He deserves it.
I am all for a good rough game of hockey and when Reaves goes flying into the corners like a cheetah on three cans of red bull looking for blood, I get excited and feel like diving over my kitchen bar onto the stove. It pumps a fan up to see a guy take the ice and get crazy. As long as crazy doesn't merge its way into stupid. Which is what happened last night.
Sure, Kopitar was following concussion protocol and was feeling better today. That doesn't matter. Ask yourself this Blues fans. Would you be enraged if a Kings player knocked Vladimir Tarasenko out of the game? You are damn right you would. It'd be shouted from the streets all night. Don't forget the big picture when assessing Reaves' actions. He didn't have to throw an elbow up at Kopitar. The play was up the ice. He could have stuck next to him and delivered the big blow if the puck came Anze's way.
Sometimes, thinking twice before hitting is a good idea for ice thugs like Reaves.
The Blues take the ice in Chicago tonight against the Blackhawks. You know what that means? Punch a Blackhawks fan in the street day is on. Just do it. Gently walk up to one in the cubicle at the office and drop the Greek yogurt with graham cracker mixing and challenge them to a fight. Just make sure they see it coming.