The NHL once again dropped the ball, or puck, in a big way.
Just one day after Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals between the New York Rangers and Montreal Canadiens, where the Canadiens would win 3-2 in overtime, two particular players, one from each team, were being looked at for possible suspensions due to their actions in the first period of said game.
Canadiens forward Brandon Prust blindsided Rangers center Derek Stepan in the first period of Game 3 with an elbow to the chin, breaking his jaw, causing Stepan to have surgery last night. This hit was never called a penalty and infuriated the Rangers. This led to Rangers forward Daniel Carcillo to retaliate against Prust, leading to a penalty and an accidental elbow to the chin of one of the on-ice officials. Carcillo received a game misconduct for his actions.
Now one would figure a game misconduct would suffice, but according to NHL “rules,” if a player abuses an official, then it warrants at least an automatic 10-game suspension, with the official’s discretion. The word ”abuse” is a far cry from Carcillo’s inadvertent elbow glancing off of the official, this after the official was grabbing Carcillo and pushing him toward the boards, but once again, professional sports gets a taste of the huge egos from these officials. So, of course, Carcillo was suspended for 10 games, as announced yesterday.
A lot of times in MLB and the NBA for example, you will see umpires and referees act like they are bigger than the game and players and decide to show them up by throwing them out of the game. I feel the same can be said for what happened in the Carcillo situation.
As for Prust, it was announced yesterday that for his blatant intentional hit on Stepan, breaking his jaw, only a two-game suspension was warranted. There is no way Prust’s suspension should be less than Carcillo’s. The lengths of these two suspensions are a complete joke.
What I ultimately take from all of this is that the NHL continues to care less about players’ safety and more about protecting the egos of their officials. Absolutely disgusting.