Last night was a great night to be a Minnesota hockey fan. Not only did the Wild’s John Curry, a native of the state who grew up rooting for the North Stars, make 43 saves in his first NHL appearance in four years to knock off the Blues, but the NCAA’s Golden Gophers also advanced to the Frozen Four final on a last-second goal.
The only thing that took away from a great night of Minnesota hockey was Mike Rupp, who hammered St. Louis’ T.J. Oshie with a hit that was obviously in violation of Rule 48 and also ruled to be too late.
As Patrick Burke said in the NHL’s supplemental discipline video: “Rupp hits Oshie at a point where he is no longer eligible to be hit. And in doing so he takes an angle that picks Oshie’s head.”
In the first suspension ruling by the league since news broke Brendan Shanahan was leaving to join the Maple Leafs as president, Rupp was given a four-game sit down.
Minnesota has one game left on its regular season schedule, so Rupp won’t be eligible to return until Game 4 of the Wild’s first round series. He had never been suspended or fined before this incident, so the four-game ruling that stretches into the post-season is a significant punishment.
But it’s not as though his absence will negatively effect the Wild’s hopes for an upset: Rupp has only played in 13 games this season.