Minnesota Wild forward Kevin Fiala has been suspended for three games for boarding Kings defenseman Matt Roy.

The hit came with 14:27 remaining in the second period of Tuesday’s game against the Los Angeles Kings.  Fiala was given a major penalty and game misconduct for boarding by referees Furman South and Justin St. Pierre.

“[This hit] will be on multiple videos, teaching clips for young players, older players, junior players, pro players on basically what not to do,” said Kings head coach Todd McLellan.

Roy was injured on the play and did not return to the game.

The NHL’s Department of Player Safety called the play a dangerous and deliberate hit, also citing that it cam at a dangerous distance from the boards.  Here’s the complete explanation:


NHL Rule 41 covers boarding:

A boarding penalty shall be imposed on any player who checks or pushes a defenseless opponent in such a manner that causes the opponent to hit or impact the boards violently or dangerously. The severity of the penalty, based upon the impact with the boards, shall be at the discretion of the Referee.

There is an enormous amount of judgment involved in the application of this rule by the Referees. The onus is on the player applying the check to ensure his opponent is not in a defenseless position and if so, he must avoid or minimize contact. However, in determining whether such contact could have been avoided, the circumstances of the check, including whether the opponent put himself in a vulnerable position immediately prior to or simultaneously with the check or whether the check was unavoidable can be considered. This balance must be considered by the Referees when applying this rule.

The referee may issue a minor or major penalty, depending on the degree of violence of the impact with the boards. A major penalty call that also results in an injury to the face or head carries an automatic game misconduct. A deliberate intent to injure would result in a match penalty.

Fiala will forfeit $77,586.21. The money goes to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.