Blake Wheeler was left questioning the decision making of the Department of Player’s Safety’s and their inconsistency following a string of similar hits with different penalties.
Jets defenseman Jacob Trouba earned a two-game suspension for a check to the head of Senators forward Mark Stone. On the flip side, Pittsburgh Penguins star Evgeni Malkin wasn’t suspended for a very similar, head-targeting pick.
The difference between the hits? Stone was injured and Wheeler didn’t miss time, albeit he was hurt.
Wheeler didn’t disagree with Trouba’s suspension but wondered why Malkin wasn’t given a similar penalty.
“From my perspective, you’d like to see the guy [Malkin] at least get a phone call. You don’t touch the puck. Leaves his feet. Hits you in the head. That’s the unfortunate part about it,” Wheeler went on.
“You can live with your guy getting two games as long as there’s consistency throughout,” Wheeler told Luke Fox of Sportsnet.ca. “I know they have a lot of hits they’re looking at every night. You like to feel protected out there. With what’s transpired in the last week, it raises a lot of questions.”
There’s certainly a case to be made Malkin should have been suspended along with Trouba. But, in today’s game, the Department of Player Safety has shown an incredibly low aptitude towards being consistent. When you see hits like Malkin’s or Trouba’s you have no idea what the league is thinking. It’s bad. Consistency at the top is incredibly important, especially when dealing with precedent-setting hits and suspensions. It’s that simple. The DoPS needs to be better.