“He ran into a lion in the jungle.”
Those were Ryan Reaves’ words in response to his blindside hit on fellow hard-noser Tom Wilson during Tuesday’s clash between the Capitals and Golden Knights in Vegas — a check that landed Reaves a game misconduct and ended Wilson’s night, too.
The Golden Knights forward re-hashed his now-famous sentiment in a promotion for a local memorabilia company according to The Washington Post, inking the message onto the top right corner of a bunch of 16×20 photos showing him staring down a curled-up and injured Wilson just before he was escorted off the ice.
Inscriptagraphs, the Vegas-based sports swag dealer, called the photos the “must have Christmas Gift of the Year” in a tweet and Instagram post that have since been deleted.
Wilson, who suffered a concussion on the play, missed Thursday’s game in Arizona and is listed as day-to-day. Because of Wilson’s very recent and ongoing history of controversial hits, many felt this was an act of much-deserved vigilante justice towards the guy who has showed blatant disregard for the health of his opponents on countless occasions.
Reaves, who avoided supplemental discipline for the hit, seemed to echo that mindset with his post-game comments.
“I thought he was just looking at his pass and… ran into a lion in the jungle.”
“I thought he was just looking at his pass — I thought he actually saw me, he looked like he took a peak,” he said. “You know, if he sees me, I know he’s going to try to lay me out and I’m not going to let that happen. I thought it was shoulder to shoulder and I didn’t think it was that late.”
Head injuries and brain trauma are obviously hot-button issues all across the sports world right now, so it was probably a wise decision for Inscriptagraphs to pull the plug on the promotion, which they apparently did in removing the photos from eBay and its company website on Thursday, according to WaPo.
Vegas Golden Knights spokesman Eric Tosi went one step further, telling The Post in an email that the signed pictures weren’t actually distributed and they’ve “been destroyed.”
Wilson and Reaves are notoriously two of the NHL’s most physical players and they’ve dropped the mitts against each other twice in their NHL careers, with both scraps dating back to Reaves’ time with the St. Louis Blues.
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