It was called a dirty play, an unnecessary hit, and not very smart. That is how the St. Louis Blues viewed Mark Stone’s 2nd period open-ice check on Tyler Bozak. Stone was forced into a fight, meanwhile, Bozak didn’t return to the game.
Questionable. We’ll look at him tomorrow.- Craig Berube, Blues coach
Stone was given a two-minute interference penalty for the mid-ice collision and the Blues were awarded their third power play of the night. After the penalty expired, Vegas’ captain dropped gloves with St. Louis defenseman Justin Faulk. It was an uneventful fight but it looked as if both parties were satisfied. St. Louis sent their message, Stone complied.
We got into kind of a battle in the corner and his elbow came up on me. Then we just jostled coming up the ice and I slammed on the brakes to get in his way. I didn’t expect to fight afterwards. He came after me and we fought. -Mark Stone
It seemed the bad blood was left on the ice, until Stone’s check was brought up several times after the game by St. Louis coach Craig Berube and his players. It’s possible the Blues were letting off some steam fresh from watching the replay, and learning their teammate was questionable to play next game. Either way, it was clear none of them liked it.
It was a very unnecessary play and I hope the league is going to look at it. It was not very smart, It was great to see Faulker do that. I think Schenner was close too. I saw him look at the replay. A couple other guys were not happy with it. -David Perron, Blues forward
In 2015, the league suspended Stone for an illegal hit to the head, but that’s too long ago for him to qualify as a repeat offender. The sport allows a player to wipe their record clean 18 months after the suspension.
Stone was on the receiving end of a dangerous hit to the head back in 2017. Jacob Trouba was suspended two-games for a blindside hit to the former Ottawa Senator. Like Bozak, Stone left the game after the illegal blow from Trouba.
The hit can be viewed in several ways. Stone believes he committed nothing more than a minor penalty, nothing warranting the post penalty scrap. Obviously, the Blues were angry and wanted more than a two-minute penalty.
It wasn’t only current Blues players that were upset. Former player and broadcaster Darren Pang erupted on St. Louis’ television broadcast.
It’s a dirty play. This is a player that’s skating, the puck is nowhere near him. Stone’s not staying in his lane, Stone stops as if he had the puck. Let’s say Bozak has the puck, it’s a clean hit. But he doesn’t have the puck. -Darren Pang, former NHL goaltender
We’ve watched enough hockey to understand it’s an emotional sport. The Blues, Pang, and upset fans can have their opinions, however, it’ll come down to how the NHL’s Department of Player Safety viewed Stone’s actions. The NHL tends to pardon players who don’t have a long history of illegal contact. That is likely to happen with Stone.
Not that it needed any, but this incident adds more drama to an already highly-anticipated game on Thursday night.