NHL Playoff Daily: Soucy and Zadorov crossed the line in cross-checking McDavid, will the league care?

The NHL department of player safety last tweeted on April 27, informing everyone that Michael McCarron had been fined for goalie interference against Casey DeSmith

Since then it’s been crickets from the account. 

If those crickets continue, the department has officially co-signed open season on star players. 

After the final buzzer of the Vancouver Canucks 4-3 win in Game 3, Connor McDavid was crosschecked simultaneously by Carson Soucy and Nikita Zadorov

Soucy, who had traded slashes with McDavid before, got the Oilers captain in the face, Zadorov delivered a shot to the back. 

The game was over, there were no penalties to be given, and the Canucks skated off with a series lead while McDavid probably narrowly avoided injury – or maybe he didn’t, we’ll never truly know in the playoffs.

The NHL reviews everything in the playoffs, they really do. The game is under the highest microscope, and the biggest microscope of discovery is actually in the league offices. 

For example, when Sam Bennett concussed Brad Marchand, the league already had every angle including the more revealing one was shown last night on the TNT broadcast. 

The Bennett play on Marchand was dirty, but it wasn’t a play that should have led to more outside punishment. Setting the precedent for a gloved punch going beyond a roughing penalty is a slippery slope. 

But cross-checking any player in the manner McDavid was sandwiched by Soucy and Zadorov should get outside punishment. It’s an intent to injure, on both fronts, and it’s two players knowing they can get away with it because when the game is over, what real penalty can the officials actually give out?

You can’t sting a team on the power play after a bad penalty if there is no time for a power play. 

A fine is also going to be toothless here. Handing out a pair of $5,000 fines for those cross checks won’t deter anything, in fact, for some it’s just even more of a reason to push the line in the future. 

It’ll only cost you $10,000 to potentially limit the best player in the world? Financially speaking, that’s a great deal. 

So the department of player safety needs to deliver a ruling that actually deters this action in the future. I’m not sure how many games it should be, especially with the sliding scale of playoff “importance,” but Zadorov, in particular, missing a game would be a worthy punishment and deterrent for future actions. 

Edmonton never got the 5-on-3 power play it deserved for that moment, but a full game without the defender that’s been vital to the Canucks would certainly be fair retribution for the action. 

One of the axioms the NHL loves, and you’ll hear over and over in any Gary Bettman press conference, is how the game is better played than ever before. If the league allows Zadorov and Soucy to get away without punishment, it’s effectively making the game worse. 

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This article is about:
NHL Boston Bruins Edmonton Oilers Florida Panthers Vancouver Canucks Sam Bennett Casey DeSmith Brad Marchand Connor McDavid Carson Soucy Nikita Zadorov
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