Golden Knights coach Peter DeBoer defends Ryan Reaves’ actions, while Avs’ Jared Bednar declares “I didn’t like the play” on Ryan Graves – The Denver Post

Jared Bednar probably didn’t want to get into a war of words Monday morning.

The Avalanche coach generally played down what Vegas coach Peter DeBoer said 90 minutes earlier about the match penalty and pending suspension to Golden Knights fourth-line winger Ryan Reaves in Sunday’s Game 1 at Ball Arena.

“It’s not hard to defend Ryan Reaves. To me, Ryan Reaves is one of the cleanest tough guys that I’ve seen in the league in my 12-13 years,” DeBoer said in a video news conference.

“He’s consistently a clean, physical player. As far as the incident that’s in Player Safety (hands). I do know a couple of things: His gloves never came off and no one was hurt on the play. Whether they’re going to look at what’s between the lines and think there’s something there that maybe I don’t see, that’s their department, not mine.”

Reaves, perhaps the NHL’s last remaining true enforcer, threw Avs defenseman Ryan Graves to the ice in the third period of Colorado’s 7-1 rout before he appeared to place his knee on his Graves’ head and glove-punch him. Graves was bloodied and attended to by a trainer while lying on the ice. He returned to finish the game.

“That’s the one play I thought was out of the context of the game,” Bednar said. “Graves is down in a vulnerable position, just stays on top of him, and obviously hits him. So I didn’t like the play.”

The NHL department of player safety tweeted that Reaves will have a hearing Monday for his actions against Graves. The Vegas forward is guaranteed to miss at least one game due to the match penalty.

Regarding DeBoar’s comments, Bednar said: “He knows his player. I guess I don’t think he’s out there trying to injury people on purpose. He’s just got a ruggedness to his game and it is what it is. But in that situation in the game, I just didn’t like it. That’s my opinion.”

Graves appeared to be targeted by Reaves and other Vegas players after he delivered a fierce check to Knights forward Mattias Janmark at 8:26 of the second period. Graves was assessed an interference minor. Janmark left with an apparent head injury and did not return.

Meanwhile, the NHL finally announced a ruling on Nazem Kadri’s appeal of his eight-game suspension Monday morning. The league upheld the full suspension for the Avalanche center’s high hit to St. Louis defenseman Justin Faulk on May 19 in Game 2 of the first-round series against the Blues.

Bednar did not originally agree with the length of the suspension and he still doesn’t.

“Same as what I saw it the first time,” Bednar said of Monday’s announcement.

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