Minnesota Wild head coach Dean Evason expressed his frustration over the incident that forced Kirill Kaprizov out of Thursday's game, chastising the Boston Bruins for what he described as "not a hockey play" and calling for the league to take action.
In the second period on Thursday, Kaprizov was fighting to control a loose puck near the boards. He briefly became tangled up with a Matt Grzelcyk, and didn't have full control of the puck, when Trent Frederic followed through on a hit, sending Kaprizov into the boards.
"Really frustrated with how Kirill got hurt," Evason said. "It’s a predatory hit. It’s one that the league, we don’t want that. The puck is sitting right there. You know what he’s doing. He’s going to hurt our best player."
Kaprizov was slow to get up and immediately left the ice in visible distress.
The 24-year-old did not return for the third period, being ruled out with what the team called an upper-body injury.
"Obviously hope he's alright," Frederic said after the game when asked about the collision. "Obviously didn't mean to hurt him but I was just going to make a hockey play, finish a check. I haven't really seen it but I think he kind of fell as I was doing it."
Kaprizov, in his second NHL season, has 14 goals -- one of which came against the Bruins.
The goal on Thursday extended his goal streak to four games, becoming only the second player in Wild history to do so in consecutive seasons, joining Marian Gaborik.
The loss of Kaprizov for any period would be a devastating blow to the Wild as they chase the St. Louis Blues and Nashville Predators for the top spot in the Central Division.
"That is not a hockey play," Evason said. "The puck’s sitting right there. Why not just take the puck and go? In a vulnerable position, you hit a player from behind. We see it all the time, and it gets taken care of. I hope it gets taken care of here."