The Department of Player Safety has done the right thing and suspended Mark Scheifele for four games. This is the right move even if it is going to make the Winnipeg Jets road out of the second round harder. It will be the right move if this sets a precedence for how the NHL and the NHL’s Department of Player will handle suspensions going forward.
Winnipeg’s Mark Scheifele has been suspended for four games for Charging Montreal’s Jake Evans. https://t.co/MhMHK55lmC
— NHL Player Safety (@NHLPlayerSafety) June 4, 2021
The Department of Player Safety has been deplorable this year. They need to set up some consistency that is about being hard on players who make reckless plays and put others health at risk. If this suspension sets a precedence, and it should, then the NHL will be a much better league going forward. Harsh sentences at the very least will show that the NHL does care about player safety.
Why the sudden about-face for player safety? I think it is two-fold: they took a lot of flack for a non-suspension of Tom Wilson earlier this year from all sides. The second part is an interesting theory from frenemy of the blog, Math Happens who floated the idea that ESPN provided outside pressure on the NHL so they don’t enter their new TV contract with bad press. This would be very in line with how the NHL operates.
The only thing left for the NHL is to at the very least sit down with Joel Edmunson about his comments following the game. The NHL has to be proactive beyond just suspending Scheifele which was a good first step.