Wild star Kirill Kaprizov avoids suspension. Why isn’t he drawing more penalties?
To say coach Dean Evason was angry after Tuesday’s game would be putting it lightly. He lit into the official about the major discrepancy in penalties throughout the game.
ANAHEIM, Calif. — Wild star Kirill Kaprizov has been hit with a $5,000 fine, not a suspension, for chopping his stick at Kings defenseman Drew Doughty.
That means Kaprizov won’t miss any additional time after being ejected midway through Tuesday’s game against the Kings in Los Angeles. He was slated to be back in the lineup for Wednesday’s game against the Ducks.
Asked about the decision handed down by the NHL Department of Player Safety, Wild coach Dean Evason replied, “I said enough about it last night. There’s no surprise he’s playing.”
To say Evason was angry after Tuesday’s game would be putting it lightly. He lit into the official about the major discrepancy in penalties throughout the game. It ended up 4-1 in penalties in favor of the Kings with the Wild failing to capitalize during their only chance on the power play. The Kings won the game 1-0.
“It’s a joke that we have one power play,” Evason said after Tuesday’s game. “We’ve got to have some balance to what we’re doing. You can’t go through a game like that and have one power play. There’s no way.”
Some of Evanson’s frustration stemmed from the fact that he felt Kaprizov should have drawn a penalty before he retaliated against Doughty. Though the swing of the stick made headlines postgame, Evason noted that Kaprizov got “mauled” by Doughty behind the net in the lead up to the altercation.
“He’s frustrated,” Evason said of Kaprizov. “We’re all frustrated because it’s not taken care of. There’s rules, and obviously we feel that there should be some more penalties called on a player of his stature who has the puck all the time. It’s not happening.”
As far as the Wild are concerned, Kaprizov should be drawing more penalties on a nightly basis with how much he possesses the puck.
“There’s times when he’s getting extra (hits by opponents),” Wild captain Jared Spurgeon said. “He’s a top player, and he’s hard to get off the puck. There’s times he’s getting slashed and stuff and he doesn’t seem to be getting calls.”
It raises the question when it comes to Kaprizov: Why isn’t he drawing more penalties?
“He plays hard every night, and I guess that’s why he doesn’t draw penalties,” Evason theorized ahead of Wednesday’s game. “He’s such a gritty guy. He’s so strong, and he has the puck. He doesn’t fall down. He certainly doesn’t dive. He’s not going to change his game because of what happened last night or what didn’t happen last night.”
Asked about the officiating in Tuesday’s game, winger Mats Zuccarello made it clear that he wasn’t a big fan.
“The refs have a hard job in this league,” Zuccarello said. “They are taking a lot of (expletive) from us players, and it’s not always fair. It’s a hard job. But sometimes we’ve got to say that we don’t think the refs had the best game, and that’s a part of it. We don’t agree with some of the calls.”
As for Kaprizov and the lack of penalties he’s drawing, Zuccarello thinks he should be getting more respect league wide.
“I’m seeing lots of other star players getting a lot of penalties drawn,” Zuccarello said. “Our team would like to see some more calls. It is what it is.”
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