Connor McDavid is a Lady Byng candidate, but even clean players make mistakes,
The Edmonton Oilers captain was suspended two games for a shoulder-to-head hit on New York Islanders defenceman Nick Leddy in Thursday’s 4-3 overtime win, where McDavid scored the winner. Initially, he was only handed a two-minute minor for the check by referees Brad Watson and Kyle Rehman.
It’s the first supplementary discipline of McDavid’s 267-game NHL career, where he’s never even had a major penalty, just 44 minors in four NHL seasons.
But in this case, the NHL’s Player Safety department decided to slap him with the suspension. Leddy wasn’t hurt but it was clearly a hit to the head. While not premeditated, it’s something the NHL wants out of the game.
In fact, they suspended another star, Erik Karlsson, two games earlier this season for a hit to the head of the Los Angeles Kings’ Austin Wagner.
After the game, McDavid admitted he had erred on the play.
“Obviously, it’s not a great check, it’s not what I was trying to do. I hit him a bit too high,” said McDavid, who had a phone hearing with the NHL in which the Oilers pleaded his case as they fight to stay in the playoff race in the West.
He will miss Saturday’s home game against the Anaheim Ducks and Monday’s game in Nashville after having sat out last Tuesday’s game at Rogers Place with the flu.