Canuck Carson Soucy gets first suspension of the 2024 NHL playoffs for incident with Connor McDavid

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      Holy shit, it’s happening again. And there’s a precedent.

      The NHL Department of Player Safety has announced that Vancouver Canucks defenseman Carson Soucy has been suspended for one game following an incident last night with Edmonton Oilers star player Connor McDavid.

      As the game ended, McDavid delivered a two-handed slash to Soucy behind Vancouver’s net. Canucks defenseman Nikita Zadorov skated into McDavid and cross-checked him into Soucy, whose stick made contact with the Oiler captain’s face.

      In announcing the suspension in a video, the NHL stated: “The play happens well after the play has ended, and it is not a hockey play. Soucy chooses to raise his stick to an unacceptably high level, draws the stick back, and delivers a two-handed blow, which lands to his opponent’s head.”

      That the incident happened about two milliseconds after the final whistle, with even less time than that elapsing between Zadorov cross-checking McDavid into Soucy, it doesn’t seem to exactly define “well after the play has ended.”

      But hey, what do we know compared to the philosophers, scholars, and Princeton graduates at the NHL Department of Player Safety? 

      Soucy had already been assessed a minor for cross-checking after the game. Zadorov was unpenalized, but was fined this morning for $5,000, the maximum allowed under the Collective Bargaining Agreement.

      McDavid received nothing for his two-hander on Soucy, that being notable, and puzzling, considering it sparked the incident. Oiler Zach Hyman, who skated in and delivered a crosscheck during the fray, also escaped any supplementary discipline. 

      On Monday, McDavid told reporters that he felt great, adding: "It's a tough game. They've got big D-men. They make it hard on you. They play physical—a physical brand of hockey. It's fun to be a part of."

      Where all this becomes interesting is when one looks at the history of the NHL and the Canucks in the playoffs over the years.

      This is the first suspension in the 2024 playoffs that has included incidents such as Florida Panther Sam Bennett appearing to punch, or butt-end, Boston Bruins captain and star Brad Marchand in the head, knocking him out of the series.

      Vancouver Canucks goalie Casey DeSmith was injured and knocked out of the Nashville Predators series after being intentionally run behind the net by Michael McCarron.

      Major incidents in the Vancouver-Oilers series have included Edmonton agitator Evander Kane slewfooting Quinn Hughes into the end boards in game two. That same game, Oiler Darnell Nurse drove star Canucks forward Elias Pettersson headfirst into the boards.

      Yesterday’s game, which the Canucks won 4-3, had Kane kicking Zadorov in the head after the Canucks defensemen bodychecked him into the Oilers bench. That one might have been unintentional except, you know, Evander Kane.

      What does all this have to do with the Canucks and the NHL? Again, there’s a precedent.

      Start with this 2019 article, titled: “Did Brian Burke unintentionally shed some light on the way the NHL screwed the Canucks in the 2011 Stanley Cup final?”

      In it, the former NHL executive dives into details that shed new light on how the Canucks were handled by the league in the 2011 Stanley Cup final against the Boston Bruins. Vancouver ended up losing the series four games to three, with many outraged about the officiating and decisions handed down by the NHL.

      Details in the story include the first multigame suspension in the history of the Cup finals, as well as, after some simple math is done, confirmation that it included one of the longest suspensions in NHL history. 

      There are those who’ll argue that Vancouver fans are paranoid. Except, well, it’s happening again...