That aggression reached a breaking point midway through the third period with play that got both teams talking after the game.
The incident in question saw the Canucks ‘Conor Garland punch the Red Wings’ Filip Zadina as the latter reached out to retrieve the puck. The blow sparked a big scrum, but after a video review Garland was demoted from a five-minute major penalty to a two-minute minor penalty for an illegal check to the head.
Zadina briefly left the match but returned. Subsequently, he had a few strong words for Garland.
“I’m fine… I was just looking for the puck and he just knocked me over, I guess, you know, like the dwarf like he is,” Zadina said. “It’s pretty normal, you know, that he reversed the blow because I don’t think he’s strong enough to fight me around the corner one-on-one.” “
It’s unclear if Zadina will be disciplined by the league for her choice of words. The word dwarf is widely regarded as an insult against people living with dwarfism. In 2019, Hockey Canada stopped using the word – along with novice, peewee, atom and bantam – to name the different age groups of minor hockey, saying in a statement, “We believe everyone should feel welcome to the game. “
Asked about his role in the play, Garland raise the shoulders, saying “this is what it is”.
“I kind of braked trying to create space. I know there’s a guy behind me, ”Garland said. “He skated behind my back… I caught the puck, I stopped and like I said, I got a penalty for a blow to the head.
“I hope he’s okay. I have taken a lot of hits to the head in my career. Some end up like nothing, some end up like something serious, so I only wish him the best. “
The Canucks and Red Wings won’t meet until March 17, but if this game looks like Saturday, there could be a lot of fireworks.