According to just about every single draft ranking available, London Knights winger Max Jones is set to become a first-round selection at the upcoming draft. He may have hurt his stock Wednesday, though, when he threw a blindside hit to the head of Owen Sound’s Justin Brack and was kicked out of an opening-round playoff contest.
Jones’ vicious hit came midway through the contest with the Knights and Attack tied at two. Jones had attempted to enter the Owen Sound zone one-on-one, but the puck was stick checked away and Jones continued on behind the Attack net as a shot was fired on goal by Knights winger J.J. Piccinich. The shot was blocked on its way in and ended up bouncing out into the feet of Brack.
As Brack looked down to locate the puck, Jones approached him from the right, maintained his speed from the drive around the Attack goal, lowered his body and drove up and into Brack:
Jones was immediately booted from the contest following the hit and handed a major for checking to the head, while Brack was knocked out for the remainder of the contest.
"The referees made the right call," Owen Sound coach Ryan McGill said, via the London Free Press’ Ryan Pyette. McGill did not give an update on Brack’s status post-game. London Knights coach Dale Hunter said the play “happened so quick” and he would have to watch the video again, but added the hit “looked like shoulder to shoulder.”
It seems certain that Jones will be facing suspension and a decision on disciplinary action against the Knights winger will likely come down ahead of Game 5 of the series, which takes place Friday in London.
In 63 games this season, Jones — a 6-foot-3, 201-pound 18-year-old — had 28 goals and 52 points to go along with 106 penalty minutes.