The Colorado Avalanche won over the New Jersey Devils 6-3 despite getting forward Ross Colton ejected from the game after a brutal cross-checking to the face of the Devils’ Timo Meier in the second period of Tuesday’s contest.
Luke Hughes and Colton battled for the puck at high speed as Colton hit Hughes at the numbers, making him awkwardly collide with the boards. Hughes was slow to get up, but by the time he got to his feet, Timo Meier confronted Colton for the hit. Colton responded by immediately cross-checking Meier to the face.
Colton was assessed a major for boarding Hughes, but after review, it was reduced to a minor. However, he did get a major and a game misconduct for the cross-checking on Meier.
Postgame, Avalanche coach Jared Bednar slammed the officiating and the call on Colton, who Bednar claimed ’defended himself.’
“Meier turns back to go at Colton and he’s coming at him with his stick high,” he said. “You’ve got to defend yourself, and your stick has got to come up unless you want to take one in the teeth. That’s what he does. It’s a reaction play to me. I didn’t think that deserved a five.”
But he didn’t get much consent from fans. On social media, fans were absolutely furious over Colton’s behavior and at the officials who actually reduced his major boarding penalty to a minor.
Many thought the hit on Hughes was dangerous and now calls for the NHL to take action.
”That’s really bad. I know the play is fast but you KNOW he’s in a really dangerous spot on the ice there, going really fast, and still throw your full weight into him. There are plays where it’s dirty but you can see it’s accidental/heat of the moment. This doesn’t look like that,” one said on X.
”Cross-checking a guy in the face on purpose should be a 5 gamer. Basically assaulted a guy,” another added.
”Colton lifts Luke’s left skate at the top of the Jameson logo. It’s not egregious but it’s just enough to take away his balance as he pushed Luke’s top half into the boards. Just a stupid hit all around,” a third said.