Jets center Mark Scheifele understands that his actions against Canadiens forward Jake Evans have consequences. But he doesn’t want irate fans going after his family as he undergoes an NHL-mandated four-game suspension for charging.
Scheifele told reporters via Zoom on Friday that his family has been subject to bullying by fans unhappy with his charging penalty against Evans.
“I could care less about people saying things about me. I’m a big boy, I can handle it. I signed up for this. That’s what you put yourself in this situation for,” Scheifele said. “The media scrutiny, whatever that is, I can handle that. But to put my parents, my brother and sister, my loved ones, through that is completely unacceptable. In a society where you can hide behind a keyboard, that is the problem.
“I can handle the criticism. I got suspended four games. I got held accountable. But there’s no right to go after my parents, to go after my loved ones. That’s completely unacceptable. But that’s our society nowadays. It’s bad to say but that’s our society. I can handle it.”
MORE: Scheifele suspended four games for charging: Explaining the NHL’s decision
Scheifele was given a five-minute major for charging and a game misconduct after he leveled Evans in the final minute of the teams’ series-opening game between Winnipeg and Montreal on Wednesday, a 5-3 win for the Canadiens. Scheifele was handed a four-game suspension the day after, and will be out Games 2-5 for the best-of-seven series. Evans is out indefinitely with a concussion.
Here is the play in question (warning: content may be disturbing to some viewers):
Scheifele told reporters Friday that he thought the duration of the suspension was “excessive,” but said he will accept them without appeal.
“I can accept the accountability. That’s what you sign up for, being in the NHL,” Scheifele told reporters. “But the hate that my family has gotten. The bullying that they’ve gotten. Online, phone calls. It’s pretty gross to see. My parents are the salt of the Earth. For my parents to get hate like that, and my brother and sister, it’s awful. I can handle it, I’m a grown man. I’ve accepted that and I can be held accountable for that. But for my family to get that, it hurts me a lot.”
The puck drops for Game 2 of the Jets-Canadiens series at 7:30 p.m. ET on Friday.