Connor McDavid suspended two games

Despite Keith Gretzky’s best efforts to prove his innocence, Connor McDavid has been handed a two-game suspension by the NHL’s Department of Player Safety for his hit on Nick Leddy in last night’s win.

Here’s their justification:

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According to the DoPS, McDavid used his elbow and made Leddy’s head the primary point of contact when the hit was avoidable. This means that both factors of the illegal check to the head rule (the head is the first point of contact and the head contact is avoidable) are met on this hit. The explanation video can be watched here.

Keith Gretzky, as I said above, tried to defend McDavid by saying that Leddy stumbled and McDavid actively tried to avoid the collision. The DoPS didn’t buy it.

Personally, I could have seen a one-game suspension given McDavid did get his elbow up on Leddy’s head, but two games is a major stretch. McDavid has zero history of being a dirty player and we’ve seen plenty of similar hits go completely unpunished by the DoPS. I mean, Evgeni Malkin tried to chop a guy’s head off with his stick Legend of Zelda style and only got one game. How about this random elbow from Drew Doughty on McDavid back in January? Is this really worse?

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This is a really, really tough break for the Oilers. The team had picked up three of four points in their last two games and last night’s tight win over the Islanders looked like it could have potentially been a momentum-changer for the Oilers. Now they’ll be without McDavid for key games against Anaheim (on Saturday) and Nashville (on the road on Monday).

McDavid will be nice and rested for his return against the Leafs in Toronto on Wednesday.

  • puckle-head

    I wouldn’t be so annoyed at a 2 game suspension if the NHL was like…. just a litte bit consistent. Sure, hit to the head, first time offence but still dangerous. You want to send a message that your stars can’t get away with those hits either, fine. But then, you have to deliver proportional rulings for these types of plays EVERY time. It seems that the criteria the DoPS is using is to hand out suspensions is either A) the player is not a star, or B) the player’s team is not competing in meaningful games.

  • Alberta Ice

    One positive: This will allow McD to get a good rest and be at full strength for the home stretch. Sucks the fans won’t see him play Saturday at home. At least those at the Islanders game got to see him score the overtime winner.

  • Kevwan

    The NHL wants to allow Connor to be mugged without reprisal and then throw the book at him the first chance they get?

    If I’m the Oilers I sit Connor out on the 27th in TO. Making the biggest star in the game a healthy scratch in the biggest hockey market might open some eyes.

  • Gravis82

    The video slowed down represented less than 1/2 of one second of movement. This is armature Haha. They are looking at this as if the movement over a 1/2 second occurred over 10 seconds. Leddy stumbled, and in real time it happened so fast that there was not enough time to reset.

    What a joke.

  • Oiler Al

    If its going to cost you $160 grand, then next time at least knock out a few ivorys. Leddy leaned into McDavids shoulder. Paros got hit in the head once to often to figure it out.

  • dolenator

    Am i the only one who thinks Leddy totally sold that in the first place? He doesn’t even barely move after the hit and is still on his feet befor throwing himself to the ice. And why is it never shown from a different angle? Complete crap. I have had people run into me harder then that playing beer league and never laid on the ice like i had been shot.

  • KRad

    Unfortunately, it is a hit to the head. Not dirty but the league wants to get those out of the game and expects the players will take extra measures to avoid them. When it isn’t McDavid doing the hitting I agree with them. It’s hard to see him abused daily and get this suspension but I do agree with it. My question is, though, why does the 2 minutes for an illegal check to the head exist? This is the tamest possible version of that and DOPS says it is a 2-game suspension. Shouldn’t the call in the game be 5 and a game and that’s it?

  • toprightcorner

    That hit was a 2 game suspension hit, the problem is the inconsistency of suspensions and even hearings. If DOPS would take a hard line on all hits to the head and hits from behind, fans would be more accepting.

    If an Oiler was hit instead of Leddy, most would say the suspension was fair but would still agree there is too much inconsistency

    Karlsson also got a 2 game suspension for a hit to the knee and he is as squeaky clean as McDavid, so the bar was already set for elite players.

    History of inconsistency is the biggest issue and the NHL needs to fix that. Having a predetermined suspension for 1st time offenders would make sense with them significantly increased for multiple infractions would help. First offense is 2 games, second offense is min 8 games and 3rd offence is 20 games.

  • slats-west

    I have the over/under at 4 the number of hits to the head and other dangerous plays worse than this that will go unpunished in the playoffs. I have $50 on the over.

  • Archer

    here is what I posted on the other thread discussing McDavid’s hearing: “I know this is cynical but based on experience where an Oiler is involved this is a simple binary choice for the league – was the infraction committed by an Oiler or against an Oiler – McDavid will get at least 1 game maybe 2” – which turned out to be absolutely right. As noted in the article, Doughty got no penalty and no suspension for an elbow to the jaw of McDavid – proves my point entirely

  • You just got LITT up!

    c’mon … to slip in that the oilers picked up 3 of 4 points and this is a momentum changer??? Wtf??? Let’s ignore back to backs and how much the oilers suck! F8k! So frustrating!

  • Derkus the circus

    So since the karma doesnt seem to go thier way ever, expect the Oilers to go on some outer wordly run and fall 2 pts short of a playoff spot. Sure wish we had 97 in those 2 games. Hogwash call.

  • he shoots he scars

    Do the Oilers keep a video bank of the videos the NHL gives out when suspending a player, both as an instructional tool for their players and as a comparable if their player is brought up for suspension ? Do the Oilers keep a video bank of transgressions against their players (ie Doughty elbow) to again use as comparables in Oiler suspension cases ? If not, why not ? I’ll wager a bunch of other teams would have such videos at their fingertips.

    • Archer

      this is precisely what the team needs to do, when I saw the article of K. Gretzky’s submission on behalf of McDavid for his hearing I couldn’t believe how lame it was. Oilers need to be prepared with precedents, examples and solid video

  • OilCan2

    I save a TON of money not buying NHL tix or merch. They are ALL about the $$$ and NOT about a fair and fast game. The cheap shots not called on McDavid counter is over 100 EVERY season.

  • slats-west

    So for those that haven’t read the official rule it’s as follows:

    Rule 48 Illegal Check to the Head – A lateral or blind side hit to an opponent where the head is targeted and/or the principle point of contact is not permitted.
    48.2 Minor Penalty – There is no provision for a minor penalty for this rule.
    48.3 Major Penalty – For a violation of this rule, a major penalty shall be assessed (see 48.4).

    First the obvious. McDavid was assessed a 2 min penalty which according to the rule means he was not in violation of rule 48 as the only option of Rule 48 is a Major.

    The principal target was the head. I completely disagree. His target from the side he came could not have been the head. It was the shoulder and if you see the camera from behind the net it appears it’s shoulder and because the follow through of Leddys shot he only contacts the head as a result. So was Mcdavid targeting the head of moving motion of the shot. Again if McdAvid was targeting the head he would have followed through with the elbow and his forearm. Which he didn’t.

    Leddy’s Reaction. This is the most damning part which if you recall Leddy did not want to leave the ice. He in fact had to be told 3 times to leave. Of which on the way to the bench he mouths the words “I’m fine” “I’m OK” to both there trainer and to Trotz.

    This is why a putz and plugger like Paros should never be DOPS chief.

    Total injustice, against a future Lady Byng candidate and 10 MVP not a goon.

  • Gary Chalmers

    2 games is a joke, DoPS is a joke. McDavid has no history and gets 2 games, while Hampus Lindholm of the Ducks, cross checks #97 in the numbers from behind, with a ref standing there, with his finger up his ass, watching the play and no call. The NHL has to do a better job protecting its stars that drive the league.!

    • Clayton

      The ‘stars’ deserve no more or no less protection than any other player on the ice. I have no problem with the two games for Connor. He hit the head and whether intentional or not put a fellow player at significant risk of a major, life changing, injury. The NHL MUST eliminate these hits. Now…The problem I have is the lack of consistency around these hits. There are numerous examples of similar hits not receiving any suspension. If that is 2 games for Connor, it must be 2 games for any other player as well.

      • Gary Chalmers

        On the point that if its 2 games for someone else, it should be 2 games for Connor, I agree with. But McDavid and the rest of the stars are held to a double standard, that was my underlying point and why I used the Lindholm hit in which no penalty is called. Call it one way for all players, the NHL doesnt so that, it’s too a point where skill is penalized, and it looks bad on the league.

  • nijames

    It was clearly a hit to the head and if Leddy did that to McDavid everyone would want a lifetime suspension. The ref’s gave him a break with the 2 minute penalty, should have been the 5 and a game at which point he wouldn’t have been available to win the game. We got 2 points out of the game now he has to do his penance for his actions. The same as Karlsson, Malkin, Giordanno and other stars have done.

    • If Leddy did that to McDavid there wouldn’t have been a susopension because NHL has a rule that dirty hits, head shots and hits from behind on the Oilers players is legal according to the NHL and there won’t give a suspension. They fine or suspend Oilers players for protecting teammates but the other team doing the cheap shot gets nothing.