Oh boy. This could get ugly. Just a few days after a controversial elbow from Connor McDavid, we have seen another one. This time, there isn’t just a $5,000 fine involved. We are seeing favoritism at its finest with this. Chandler Stephenson has been given the hammer by the NHL for his elbow against the Los Angeles Kings. Chandler Stephenson will miss the next three games due to the Department of Player Safety issuing out a suspension for his actions.
In any other situation during this season would this be a no-brainer for the league. It is the timing that has people up in arms at the entire NHL. Chandler Stephenson is having a quietly nice season for the Vegas Golden Knights this season. The fact that he has no prior history with suspensions or fines causes some concern for the term of the suspension. Three games seems a little excessive. It is definitely suspension-worthy, but three games seems a little steep for a non-repeat offender.
Major penalty and misconduct assessed to Chandler Stephenson for elbowing on Bjornfot. Bjornfot bleeding and to the room pic.twitter.com/hYUXgI0BMu
— NHL Safety Watch (@NHLSafetyWatch) April 1, 2021
Why is this Worth a Suspension?
There are many reasons as to why Chandler Stephenson deserves a suspension here. First of all, it is a clear elbow to the head of a defenseless player. Bjornfot clearly got the puck away and this hit by Stephenson was a little bit past the threshold for time. It was clearly avoidable, but the frustrations of Stephenson took over and resulted in a major penalty.
Bjornfot suffered an injury on the play, which doesn’t help the case for Chandler Stephenson. Stephenson makes significant contact with the head without any contact with the body of Bjornfot. It makes the case for Stepehson little to none for any appeal.
Why not McDavid?
The timing of this suspension comes a few days after the NHL gave Connor McDavid a slap on the wrist. McDavid delivered a similar hit to Montreal Canadiens forward Jesperi Kotkaniemi. This one looked very similar to Stephenson’s elbow, but this one was in the open ice. What is the difference between the two? McDavid gets a $5,000 fine and Stephenson gets a three-game suspension.
Now there is a major difference in the popularity of McDavid compared to Stephenson, but consitancy needs to be in this league. If you are going to hand out a major suspension for Stephenson, the least you could do is give McDavid one game. I am not saying there is favoritism in this league, but it is trending that way. There have been a lot of missed opportunities for some well-deserved suspensions to star players. So far, the NHL has struck out every time.
— Hockey Night in Canada (@hockeynight) March 31, 2021
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