During the Montreal Canadiens and Winnipeg Jets game on Wednesday, June 2nd, Canadiens forward, Jake Evans sustained a concussion after being on the receiving end of a brutal Mark Scheifele hit. (see the check below) On the ice, the referees ejected Mark Scheifele and gave him a five-minute major penalty. The NHL’s Department of Player Safety decided to further the punishment by suspending him for four games. Mark Scheifele has decided to accept the punishment and not appeal the suspension. The original hit and further punishment will change the outcome of the rest of the series.
How Is Jake Evans Recovering?
After receiving the dangerously high hit from Mark Scheifele, Jake Evans was unable to get to his feet. Obviously, he did not return to the game as he was stretchered off the ice and taken to the team’s hotel. Surprisingly Evans was not taken to the hospital instead opting to stay at the hotel in the care of two doctors.
Montreal head coach Dominique Ducharme gave an update on Jake Evans earlier this week “We have two doctors with us. They took care of him last night. They didn’t feel the need to take him to the hospital, which is good news. He’ll definitely miss a lot of time. It’s tough to say how long right now.”
Right now Evans seems like his recovery process seems like it is going well but obviously, you never want to see somebody get injured or suffering from an injury. Hopefully, Jake Evans can make a healthy and quick recovery so he can return to the ice with his teammates as soon as he is ready.
How Will Do the Canadiens Replace Jake Evans?
With Jake Evans being sidelined for the foreseeable future the Montreal Canadiens have to find a replacement for him. They decided to put Artturri Lehkonen into the lineup to replace Evans. The 25-year-old Finnish forward played in 47 games during the 2021 regular season. He scored just seven goals and six assists in the 47 regular games. In the playoffs, he has played just 3 games so far but has no points. This may be due to the fact that he has been dealing with an undisclosed injury since the first round of the playoffs.
How Does the Mark Scheifele Suspension Affect the Series?
For starters, the suspension majorly helps the Montreal Canadiens and hurts the Winnipeg Jets. Mark Scheifele is one of the best Winnipeg Jets and arguably the best and biggest threat on offense. The Jets will miss his presence on offense for the four games he will be out. Even after one game, Scheifele’s offensive prowess was clearly missed as the Jets were shut out by Carey Price and the Canadiens. For the sake of the Winnipeg Jets Kyle Connor, Pierre-Luc Dubois, Blake Wheeler, and Nikolai Ehlers will need to step up and replace the scoring void that the Mark Scheifele suspension leaves.
To replace Mark Scheifele the Jets opted to put Kristian Vesalainen into the lineup. The 22-year-old out of Finland is a former first-round pick of the Jets who is finally getting a chance to show off his skills in the playoffs. Thus far in his NHL career, Vesalainen has not really made any impactful contributions. He has played 17 career regular-season games and has just two assists to his credit. Maybe he can finally break through and score a goal that can change the Jets fortunes around in this series.
Final Thoughts on the Mark Scheifele Suspension
In conclusion, the brutal check by Mark Scheifele and the subsequent suspension has drastically changed the second-round match-up between the Montreal Canadiens and the Winnipeg Jets. Right away Jake Evans suffered a serious injury and will miss a lengthy amount of time. Hopefully, he makes a healthy and speedy recovery but in the meantime, Artturri Lehkonen will take his spot in the lineup. For the Jets, they will be missing one of their best players and will need their other star players to step up in his absence. Kristian Vesalainen will slide into the lineup to hopefully help the Jets turn the series around and make this a competitive series once again.
Main image credit