After scoring 108 points in 81 games last season, expectations were high on Kirill Kaprizov going into the new campaign. So far, he’s off to a great start to the season, with 13 points in 12 games for the Wild. But Tuesday’s matchup against the LA Kings was no success for the Russian forward.
In the second period of the game, Kaprizov got into an argument with veteran defenseman Drew Doughty and couldn’t control his emotions.
Doughty pushed him a bit with his stick, and Kaprizov responded with a vicious cross-check to the chin of Doughty.
Kaprizov was handed a match penalty and was ejected from the game, and as he was forced to leave the ice, Doughty took the opportunity to add insult to injury as he waved goodbye to Kaprizov with a smile on his face.
The penalty means Kaprizov is suspended one game, which means he will miss Wednesday’s matchup in Anaheim against the Ducks.
Many Wild fans didn’t agree with the penalty, or that the penalty was ruled as intent to injure, especially considering Doughty handed out several hits to Kaprizov in the leadup to the play.
It wasn’t just fans who were annoyed by the call on the ice. Wild coach Dean Evason reacted with fury.
“That’s a joke,” he said, per The Athletic’s Joe Smith.
Afterward, Evason was asked about Kaprizov’s match penalty.
“It’s tough, right? He’s clearly one of the best players in the league. He has the puck all the time, and last year we looked it up as far as his ability to draw penalties in the league was top-5… something like that. I guarantee you he’s way down.”