Winnipeg Jets’ Mark Scheifele says “the Department of Player Safety shut me down” in exit interview

Mark Scheifele (CP)

Mark Scheifele didn’t hold back when asked about not being available due to suspension in the Jets elimination.

“Obviously it’s crushing that my season was ended by that and I wasn’t able to play in this series” he said. ” I thought I’d be shut down by Phillip Danault, but it was the Department of Player Safety that shut me down.”

Mark Scheifele suspended for predatory hit on Jake Evans

The NHL Department of Payer Safety came down hard on Winnipeg Jets forward Mark Scheifele for his charge on Jake Evans. Late in the third period, the Canadiens forward tucked home an empty net goal when Scheifele ran him over.

Evans was unconscious and needed to be stretchered away. As he was leaving the arena, he gave a thumbs up signaling he was ok.

According to the NHL DoPS video the hit was defined as charging. Scheifele argued that he maintained his speed to make a defensive play. However the league determined his intent was not to play the puck but to make a predatory hit on a prone opponent. They suspended him for 4 games, the Jets were eliminated before he could come back.

mark Scheifele suspension
Jun 2, 2021; Winnipeg, Manitoba, CAN; Winnipeg Jets center Mark Scheifele (55) hits Montreal Canadiens center Jake Evans (71) in the third period in game one of the second round of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Bell MTS Place. Mandatory Credit: James Carey Lauder-USA TODAY Sports

Mark Scheifele felt his suspension was excessive

Mark Scheifele discussed his suspension as soon as it came down. First he wanted to address Jake Evans’ injury and pray for his health. “My intention was to negate a goal,” he said. “I don’t go in with the frame of mind of injuring a hockey player.”

“I thought the punishment was excessive – I wasn’t expecting that,” he began to comment on the length of the suspension. “I can accept the accountability, that’s what you sign up for. But the hate that my family has gotten, the bullying they’ve gotten, is completely unacceptable.”

Scheifele went on to explain that his family, including his parents whom he called “salt of the Earth” type people are getting harassed. “Online, phone calls – it’s pretty gross to see,” as he fought back tears. “For my parents to get hate like that, and my brother and sister it’s awful.”