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Zadorov fined, Soucy to receive hearing for crosschecking McDavid

Will Carson Soucy get suspended for crosschecking Connor McDavid in the face?
Both Nikita Zadorov and Carson Soucy will receive supplemental discipline for these crosschecks on Connor McDavid.

An altercation at the end of the Vancouver Canucks' win over the Edmonton Oilers in Game 3 has led to supplemental discipline for two Canucks defencemen.

After the final horn sounded, Nikita Zadorov and Carson Soucy tag-teamed Connor McDavid with simultaneous crosschecks to the back and face, crumpling the Oilers' captain to the ice. It was a vicious attack that deserves to be punished to the fullest extent of the law.

At least, that's what one might think judging from the reaction of some Oilers writers and even national columnists

In reality and in context, it wasn't nearly as bad as the more histrionic reactions might make it seem. For instance, the altercation was escalated by a two-handed slash by McDavid on Soucy. Zadorov came to his teammate's defence by shoving McDavid in the back and it was that unexpected movement that led to Soucy's crosscheck landing on McDavid's face rather than in the chest as it was clearly intended.

It should also be noted that as bad as it looked, there did not appear to be an injury on the play. While that perhaps should not matter for Department of Player Safety decisions — a dangerous play that doesn't injure a player is still a dangerous play — it typically has mattered, with the DoPS looking the other way when no one gets hurt.

Soucy and McDavid could even be seen talking it over immediately after the altercation, with Soucy seeming apologetic for the clearly unintentional consequences of his crosscheck.

All that is to say, a suspension for Soucy seems overboard. Without Zadorov's impact from behind, the altercation between Soucy and McDavid would likely have been a typical scrum, with pushing and shoving in both directions. It's only because McDavid was pushed off-balance that Soucy's stick contact McDavid in the face.

The NHL announced a $5000 fine for Zadorov, which makes sense. A crosscheck from behind in an altercation he wasn't involved in that put McDavid in a vulnerable spot? Sure, that can be a fine.

It does seem odd that Zadorov gets a fine while McDavid's baseball bat swing at Soucy — which was after the final horn just like the crosschecks — receives nothing at all.

The NHL has also announced that Soucy will receive a hearing at an unspecified time, which seems ominous.

If Soucy is suspended, it would be the first suspension of the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs, which would likely rankle fans who are already primed to believe the NHL establishment is biased against the Canucks. Notably, Florida Panthers forward Sam Bennett didn't receive a suspension for sucker punching Brad Marchand, which actually injured the Boston Bruins star and kept him out for at least one game.

Or, within this same series, Nils Höglander was speared in the groin by Derek Ryan — something that has often resulted in multi-game suspensions in the past — without even a fine from the DoPS. 

To suspend Soucy for something that was clearly an accident and didn't cause an injury would seem a little out of character for the DoPS under George Parros. Then again, it was McDavid, the face of the NHL. Crosschecking the face of the NHL's face could be a bridge too far.