weather icon Clear

Knights’ Ryan Reaves learns hard lesson after hard hit on Tom Wilson

Lessons are often learned over time, even for really big kids.

It’s certainly true for Ryan Reaves, which is to say the Golden Knights forward pulled a small-time expansion move Thursday, even with his team more than a year removed from such a distinction.

Not with anything on the ice, where the Knights beat Chicago 4-3 before an announced crowd of 18,494 at T-Mobile Arena, having outscored the Blackhawks 12-6 in two victories this season.

The Knights are rolling, all right, having won eight of 10.

But karma moves in different directions, and when actions are foolish in nature, well, the resulting backlash of negativity is deserved and earned.

You remember the hit that Reaves made against Tom Wilson of the Washington Capitals on Tuesday? The one that drew a five-minute major and game misconduct for Reaves?

The one that knocked Wilson out of the game and had him miss Washington’s 4-2 victory at Arizona on Thursday with a concussion?

The NHL didn’t deem it bad enough for Reaves to be assessed any supplementary discipline, and he shouldn’t have been. The hit was absolutely late, but even if Reaves had, as Washington coach Todd Reirden said afterward, targeted Wilson the entire game, officials were left to call just the actual hit.

It should have ended there, or at least until the teams meet again, which I’m sure both would openly welcome this season given it would mean a rematch of the Stanley Cup Final.

But it didn’t, and this is where things went wrong.

Whether it be via an agent or a player himself, a big part of professional sports in 2018 is marketing one’s brand. One’s appeal. One’s ability to increase popularity.

This particular move to enhance all of the above, however, was a total failure.

It was midday when a Las Vegas-based memorabilia dealer named Inscriptagraphs began promoting across social media 16-by-20-inch copies of a photograph that showed Wilson dazed on the ice as Reaves was being directed away by a linesman.

On each picture was a quote that Reaves gave reporters after the 5-3 win: “He ran into a lion in the jungle.”

Which was a bad way to begin things, given there are no lions in the jungle.

Each picture was signed by Reaves, a point Inscriptagraphs made in its Instagram post about the item when pushing it as a “must have Christmas gift.”

“The picture was probably in bad taste,” Reaves said after the Knights’ victory Thursday. “I apologize that it even got started.”

Here’s the thing: To offer even the mere insinuation one might profit from a picture of an opposing player lying on the ice with an apparent head injury is ridiculous, given the public emphasis the league has put on player safety.

And whether such reality exists somewhere between denial or acceptance on behalf of the NHL when it comes to head trauma, you shouldn’t as Reaves support even the slightest appearance of having fun with this specific issue.

I don’t care how dirty a player the majority of folks believe Wilson is or how far the dislike between he and Reaves goes, and it’s apparently fairly deep.

You don’t get involved with promoting such a message.

Negative reaction swift

The immediate public reaction was so critical that Inscriptagraphs removed the picture from all its social media accounts, although it’s fairly obvious there is a healthy connection between agents and the company given the countless autographed items for sale — hey, you can have your very own Marc-Andre Fleury-signed framed sweater for just $1,399!

Or how about a stocking stuffer of a William Karlsson-signed puck for $199?

“(The Reaves photos) were not distributed, and they have been destroyed,” Knights spokesman Eric Tosi said.

Smart move. Domestic violence is unquestionably the biggest hot topic issue in sports, but head injuries remain near the top of such a list.

Reaves also plays a role where he can be as much stalked as stalker during games. It’s just not a road he wants to travel. You know, that karma thing and all.

“I’ve signed a lot worse, but in this age of social media and concussions, and the fact (Wilson) was hurt, you never want to see that,” Reaves said. “I called the guy (at Inscriptagraphs) right away, and we took care of it before it got out.”

Lesson learned.

Maybe he can send Wilson a pair of signed VGK socks for Christmas.

What do they go for, $100?

Contact columnist Ed Graney at egraney@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-4618. He can be heard on “The Press Box,” ESPN Radio 100.9 FM and 1100 AM, from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. Monday through Friday. Follow @edgraney on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Golden Knights Videos
Vegas Golden Knights President Kerry Bubolz on the Golden Edge Podcast
Review-Journal reporters Ben Gotz and David Schoen talk with Golden Knights president Kerry Bubolz about his experiences with LeBron James, the team's new initiatives, a possible MLS expansion team and more.
George McPhee Conference Call on Nikita Gusev trade - VIDEO
Golden Knights President of Operations George McPhee answers questions on a conference call about the teams most recent trade of Nikita Gusev to the New Jersey Devils.
Vegas Golden Knight's Deryk Engelland Happy to Re-Sign - Video
Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Deryk Engelland is happy to stay in Las Vegas after signing a one-year deal with the team.
Golden Aces hold Tryouts For 2019-2020 Season - Video
The Golden Aces hold tryouts for the 2019-2020 season for the Golden Knights.
Golden Knight's owner Bill Foley's House for sale in The Ridges - Real Estate Millions
Vegas Golden Knights, Fleury Make Day for Critically Ill Teenager in ESPN “My Wish” - Video
A 13-year-old Las Vegas boy who has faced Hodgkin’s lymphoma is treated to a special day by the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights in a new ESPN “My Wish” Series feature debuting Wednesday, July 17, on SportsCenter. In the feature, Doron Coldwell spends a day with the team and even gets an opportunity to replace his favorite player, three-time Stanley Cup winner Marc-Andre Fleury, in the net.
Golden Knights Sell "Battle Worn Armor" To Season Ticket Holders - Video
The Golden Knights sell their "battle worn" apparel throughout both of the teams seasons including pucks, sticks, helmets and skates.
Summerlin 4th of July Parade - VIDEO
On July 4th Summerlin will be hosting the 25th annual Summerlin Council Patriotic Parade, an event that has grown massively over the years
Golden Knights McPhee talks on the first day of NHL free agency - VIDEO
Golden Knights incoming president of operations George McPhee addresses the media as free agency starts.
Golden Knights Trade Colin Miller as Development Camp ends - VIDEO
George McPhee speaks to the media following the end of the Golden Knights development camp.
Golden Knights Development Camp Day 4 - VIDEO
Nic Hague stands out at day 4 of Golden Knights development camp.
Golden Knights Hold First Scrimmage of Development Camp - Video
The first of three scrimmages was held at the 2019 Golden Knights Development Camp. Golden Edge host Cassie Soto and Golden Knights beat writers Adam Hill and David Schoen discuss what stood out to them.
Golden Knights George McPhee Discusses Erik Haula Trade - Video
A day after it was announced that Erik Haula had been traded to the Carolina Hurricanes, incoming President of Hockey Operations George McPhee spoke to the media discussing the move.
Golden Knights Trade Erik Haula - Video
The Golden Knights have traded Erik Haula to the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for prospect Nicolas Roy. Golden Edge host Cassie Soto and Golden Knights beat writer Adam Hill discuss the trade.
Golden Knights Coaches Looking for Veterans to Step Up in Development Camp - Video
Day two of the 2019 Golden Knights Development Camp is in the books. Director of Player Development Wil Nichol says his staff is looking for the veterans of the camp to step up and be leaders to the younger guys, while at the same time doing their best to impress the coaching staff.
Golden Knights Draft Player with Strong Hockey Bloodlines - Video
The Golden Knights drafted Mason Primeau in the 5th round of the 2019 NHL Draft. Primeau is no stranger to professional hockey, both his dad (Wayne Primeau) and his uncle (Keith Primeau) played in the NHL.
Golden Knights Kelly McCrimmon Talks Development Camp - VIDEO
Golden Knights general manager Kelly McCrimmon talks about what he expects from everyone at development camp on their first day.
Golden Knights Dylan Coghlan On Veteran Experience - VIDEO
Golden Knights defenseman Dylan Coghlan talks about his veteran experience playing in Chicago and development camp.
Golden Knights President George McPhee talks about Williams Karlsson's 8 year deal
George McPhee presser highlights June 25, 2019.
Golden Knights Center William Karlsson speaks to media about 8 year contract
William Karlsson presser highlights June 25, 2019.
Golden Knights Development Camp at Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada
For the third consecutive year, Vegas Golden Knights Development Camp participants participated in a special community event at Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada in Las Vegas. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
2019 NHL Awards Highlight Video
The 2019 NHL Awards took place at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas on Wednesday night. Though Vegas Golden Knights forward Mark Stone came close to winning the best defensive forward trophy, St. Louis Blues center Ryan O' Reilly took home the coveted Frank Selke Trophy. Jason Zucker, who was raised in Las Vegas and plays for the Minnesota Wild, accepted the King Clancy Memorial Trophy for leadership and humanitarianism. Tampa Bay Lightning's Nikita Kucherov took home the NHL's MVP Award. (Heidi Fang / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Gary Bettman discusses NHL rule changes - VIDEO
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman addressed the media after Wednesday’s Board of Governor’s meeting.
Golden Knights' Mark Stone up for Selke Trophy
Golden Knights right wing Mark Stone is a finalist for the Selke Trophy. The award goes to the best defensive forward in the NHL. Stone led the league in takeaways last season with 122. His competition is St. Louis Blues center Ryan O'Reilly... And Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron. Stone will find out if he wins Wednesday at the NHL Awards.
Vegas Golden Knights announce preseason schedule
The Golden Knights announced their preseason schedule Tuesday, as well as the date of their rookie camp and training camp.
Mark Stone and Stanley Cup visit MGM Grand
Mark Stone took photos and signed autographs for Golden Knights fans at the MGM Grand on Sunday. The Stanley Cup also made its way into the MGM Grand Main Lobby. The most revered trophy in hockey is on display to celebrate the upcoming 2019 NHL awards at the Mandalay Bay Center on June 19th. (Nathan Asselin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Golden Knights, Raiders Unite for Charity Softball Game - Video Highlights
Golden Knights and Raiders players alike were more than excited to join together in a charity softball game to raise money for pediatric cancer. Players from both teams cannot wait for the Raiders to arrive in Las Vegas so more joint events can take place.
Golden Knights and Raiders Raise over $100K in Charity Softball Game - Video Highlights
In the first-ever Battle For Vegas Charity Softball Game, the Golden Knights and Raiders raised $136,000 for the Tyler Robinson Foundation. At the end of the nights, it was the Raiders that raised the Battle For Vegas trophy, after beating the Golden Knights 20-16. Take a look at some of the highlights from the game!
Golden Knights' Reilly Smith Ready to Battle for Vegas - Video
Golden Knights forward Reilly Smith is ready to Battle For Vegas in a charity softball game that will feature various celebrity athletes, including teammates Jonathan Marchessault, Ryan Reaves and Erik Haula. Smith's team will face off against former Raider Marcus Allen and his teammates, including Vontaze Burfict, Josh Jacobs and Maurice Hurst. The charity softball game is set to take place on Saturday, June 15th at the Las Vegas Ballpark.
Golden Knights Will Have a New Home in Henderson - Video
The Golden Knights are saying goodbye to the Henderson Convention Center and hello to the team's new hockey facility that will be located in the second largest city in Nevada. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
‘Helmetgate’ is sort of drama Raiders get with Antonio Brown

How can a guy like the Pro Bowl wide receiver, who works so hard on his craft — more committed and diligent and driven than anyone, says head coach Jon Gruden and quarterback Derek Carr — also be so contentious about something like which helmet he wears?

Don Banks, giant of NFL writers, gone too soon

Banks died in his sleep early Sunday morning at the age of 57, alone in a hotel room in Canton, Ohio, having attended the Pro Football Hall of Fame ceremonies and earlier filing his first story for the Review-Journal.

Raiders hoping Trent Brown lives up to massive paycheck

A Super Bowl champion with the Patriots last season and then made the highest paid offensive lineman in NFL history by the Raiders, Brown at right tackle will be among those protecting quarterback Derek Carr.