The NHL playoffs are officially underway and the Minnesota Wild took on the Dallas Stars in game 1 of their series last night (April 17). As someone who was born in Minnesota and an avid hockey fan, I'll be watching every second of this series, as long as I can stay up late enough to watch.

The wild pulled out a victory beating the Stars 3-2 in double OT. This game ended up taking 92 minutes and 20 seconds of game time, making it the longest game in Wild history.

While the Minnesota Wild were able to come up with a game 1 victory, it wasn't just the double OT nail-biter that had the fans in the arena buzzing. There was a bit of a scary moment in the game where a Wild player lays out a player for the Dallas Stars. The player that got hit is someone Waterloo Blackhawk fans may remember.

Joe Pavelski was born in Wisconsin and has been in the NHL since 2012. Iowans may remember his days playing for the Waterloo Black Hawks from 2002 through 2004. His days playing for Waterloo lead him to play for the University of Wisconsin. He's been a member of the Dallas Stars since 2019. Ironically, the Dallas Stars used to also have an Iowa connection as their minor league team was located in Des Moines from 2005-2009.

About halfway through the 2nd period of last night's marathon, Pavelski took a massive hit from Matt Dumba, which lead to him needing help getting off the ice. This hit originally was called a 5-minute major penalty but after review, it was reduced to a standard, 2-minute-minor.

If you're not much of a hockey fan...the NHL has been trying to increase rules for player safety. Just like in football, hits around the head/neck area will always be scrutinized. In the old-school days of hockey, this hit probably wouldn't have even stopped the game.

Not to sound like an old man here but...back in the day, Matt Dumba probably would've had to fight someone on his next shift and that would be the end of it. In today's game, anytime there's a massive hit, it's pretty much guaranteed some kind of pile-up is going to happen and the game will be paused.

If you watch the video at game speed, it does appear Dumba hits Pavelski in his face. If you slow the video down, which the refs did after calling a 5-minute major, you can see that Matt actually hits Pavelski in the chest/shoulder area, with his shoulder. While this hit may have been a big collision, it's actually a legal hit.

You never want to see a player get hurt or need help off the ice but when you're growing up learning to play hockey, this hit is exactly why they tell players to ALWAYS KEEP YOUR HEAD UP. The only real argument against the hit would be it could've been late. Players have some protection from getting hit after passing the puck. This is why I think a 2-minute penalty was still called.

During his interview after the game, Matt wasn't even sure why he got a 2-minute minor call. According to the Star Tribune, he said

To be honest, I thought it was a clean hit. I figured they were going to see the same — shoulder on shoulder. I don't even know why I got the roughing. It was probably just because I was in the box already.

It was reported after the game that former Waterloo Black Hawk, Joe Pavelski was "okay" but the Stars are unsure if he'll be able to play in game 2 of the series, tomorrow night. Either way, that hit has officially set the tone for these teams moving forward.

If you aren't a hockey fan, I will say, NHL playoff hockey is by far the best playoff sport in the world. The pace of play picks up, the energy is picked up, the smack talk increases and teams have to play each other at least 4 times every series. It's no wonder they start to hate each other after a game or two.

When game 1 of a series starts with a massive hit and the game ends in double-overtime...this series is going to be incredibly entertaining going forward. Who wants to jump on this Wild bandwagon? I've been on the ride the entire season and I invite any Iowan to hop on board! Game 2 is tomorrow night (April-19) at 8:30 p.m.

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