Rookie Charlie Coyle has had quite an impact for the Minnesota Wild when it comes to scoring this season, and in Saturday’s loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets he made an impact in a different way. Coyle put a hard hit on the Blue Jackets’ Artem Anisimov during the first shift of the game, and was assessed a match penalty for deliberate injury. The hit also led to Coyle getting into his first NHL fight, as the Blue Jackets’ Brandon Dubinsky immediately challenged him. So far it seems that Coyle will not face supplemental discipline for the hit, as video did not show an attempt to target Anisimov’s head.
This is the second time Coyle has come under fire in his 30 games with the Wild this season, as the team also had to fear he might be suspended after a hit on Matt Stajan of the Calgary Flames on Feb. 26. Coyle’s size (6-3, 222) is one of his biggest assets, and gives him the ability to lay some thunderous hits in addition to his scoring ability. He has also been on the other end of this situation, as a hit from Niklas Kronwall of the Detroit Red Wings led to him missing six minutes of the game while Kronwall received a high-sticking double minor but escaped a suspension.
Coyle has proven to be a great addition for the Wild this season, and has six goals and nine points. As the team fights to hold on to a playoff spot, they will need him in the lineup. The Wild enter Monday night holding the seventh spot in the Western Conference standings, holding a tiebreaker edge over the Red Wings and a two-point lead over the Dallas Stars and the Blue Jackets.