Nikita Zadorov lucky to avoid suspension for his part in hit on Connor McDavid

Nikita Zadorov has been an absolute menace so far versus the Edmonton Oilers in the playoffs, but he's taking it too far at times and the NHL's allowing him to.
Edmonton Oilers v Vancouver Canucks - Game One
Edmonton Oilers v Vancouver Canucks - Game One / Derek Cain/GettyImages

Before we get into the main point of this post, let's be clear in stating the Vancouver Canucks deserve to be leading this second round playoff series versus the Edmonton Oilers. They've been the better team overall, and just seem to want it more, digging in deep to fight for the right to advance to the Western Conference Final.

Also, we appreciate that there have already been plenty of questionable calls by the referees against both teams in the three games played thus far. Regardless, there is no excuse for what Nikita Zadorov and Carson Soucy did to Connor McDavid after the conclusion of Sunday night's game:

At the time of writing, we are still awaiting the outcome of Soucy's phone hearing which took place sometime this afternoon. If there is any justice -- and more to the point common sense -- the NHL Department of Player Safety will suspend him for at least one game, if not two.

(Update - It has now been confirmed by the NHL, that Soucy has been suspended for one game. This means he will miss game four in Edmonton, on Tuesday night.)

On the subject of common sense, this already seems to be in short demand at league headquarters New York City. How else can you explain Zadorov only receiving a fine for initiating the double cross-check on McDavid?

A minor punishment for Zadorov

As per, Zadorov was penalised the maximum amount of $5,000, which is not exactly a big deal for a player with a salary of $3.75 million for the 2023-24 season. The money will go to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund, although maybe it should go towards training league personnel to do a better job of taking player safety more seriously.

Did the NHL Department of Player Safety actually look a the cross-check properly, or even give a damn? How was what Zadorov did not considered dangerous, especially coming from behind, as he set up him teammate to deliver an even nastier cross-check on the Oilers captain.

There are those who claim the only reason the incident was even looked at, was due to McDavid's superstar status, which is an asinine take. It's scary to think the NHL Department of Player Safety might not have reviewed the double cross-check at all, if it had been a less 'glamorous' player; it was dangerous, no matter who was cross-checked.

What will be really unfathomable, is if the league does do the right thing and suspend Soucy. How do they justify suspending him but not Zadorov, who admittedly has been a key player for the Canucks during their playoff run thus far; to say they dodged a bullet, is an understatement.

Next. Time for Oilers to give Calvin Pickard a start in net. Time for Oilers to give Calvin Pickard a start in net. dark

Ultimately, we're at a point where faith and trust in the NHL Department of Player Safety is arguably at an all-time low, with there seeming to be no attempt to actually look after the players. Even pending the Soucy decision, you have to wonder how the punishment -- or lack thereof -- on Zadorov will impact what McDavid's teammates do in retaliation, because the league has left themselves open to plenty of second guessing and a stain on their reputation which could result in the series between the Oilers and Canucks getting out of hand.

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