Minnesota Wild D Matt Dumba won’t face discipline from the NHL after his hit on Dallas Stars F Joe Pavelski in the second period of Game 1 of the first round of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs on Monday night.
Update — The NHL decided not to discipline Dumba for his hit and now Pavelski is in concussion protocol and ruled out for Game 2 vs. the Wild on Wednesday night.
Dumba skated in on Pavelski, who just sent the puck on net. The Wild defenseman left his skates and hit Pavelski, appearing to go shoulder-to-shoulder (though it was basically a high hit). Dumba’s stick also hits Pavelski in the head before the Stars wing fell to the ice, hitting his head. Pavelski was unable to return to the game.
Dumba was given a 5-minute major, which was brought down to a 2-minute roughing minor on the play. He won’t have a hearing with the NHL’s Department of Player Safety on Tuesday. Pavelski’s status for Game 2 is unclear, though based on what head coach Pete DeBoer said, it seems unlikely.
If you look at the play, the hit is wildly unnecessary. The Wild have five men back in their zone and Pavelski is basically alone going toward the back of the net. Dumba could have avoided the hit and injuring Pavelski but that wasn’t the case. He left his feet so it isn’t entirely a clean hit, since he’s charging upwards with a clear intent to inflict harm. Pavelski is relatively defenseless in that position with another Wild defender on him at the time. Just because it’s “shoulder-to-shoulder” doesn’t mean it isn’t malicious or harmful. The fact Pavelski couldn’t return proves that it was harmful. This isn’t to say Dumba is a malicious person or wanted to hurt Pavelski, but that’s what happened and it could have been avoided.
Matt Dumba lays a late hit on Joe Pavelski and receives a 2-minute minor penalty for roughing. pic.twitter.com/a6XTWf4Hup— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) April 18, 2023