Sidney Crosby publicly slams the NHL for loose and sketchy suspension rules

Mike Armenti
September 16, 2023  (2:41 PM)

Last season, one of the biggest issues that fans, players, coaches and teams had was with the lack of consistency from the NHL's Department of Player Safety when it comes to suspensions. Nobody knew what did or didn't constitute reasonable grounds for a suspension and even when suspensions were handed out, many of them seemed very light, especially in circumstances where a player was injured.

During the most recent edition of the 32 Thoughts Podcast, one of the players that Elliotte Friedman and Jeff Marek caught up with for a chat was superstar Penguins forward Sidney Crosby. Among the questions that Friedman and Marek had asked was a question about what Crosby feels is the biggest issue in the NHL right now and what causes him the most confusion. Crosby's answer was both immediate and well-worded.
"I would say maybe just suspensions... it's still something where you see a highlight, you see a clip and you don't know the range of the suspension. You don't know whether it's going to be a suspension or not. That's how I feel. I know it's not an easy job for anybody, but I still feel like there's a bit of a grey area there and I don't think anyone's ever going to agree on length or that sort of thing or what the intentions were on a play. That's always going to be debatable, but I'd like to think that we can get a little bit closer to what it is, exactly, and maybe what the punishment is." - Crosby on the number one issue for him in the current NHL

We hear you there, Sid. Long have fans been begging Gary Bettman to relieve George Parros of his duties as the Head of the Department of Player Safety. At times, it feels as though the punishments handed out by Parros are completely arbitrary. Some players who deserve a longer suspension either skate away with a fine or a short suspension, while players with less of a history or a reputation for questionable plays have the book thrown at them.
Case in point, Jason Spezza's 6-game suspension for his hit on Winnipeg's Neal Pionk a few seasons back. Pionk had taken a knee-on-knee run at Rasmus Sandin, injuring the young Leafs defenseman for several weeks. Pionk received a 2-game suspension. Meanwhile, after Spezza took a retaliatory run at Pionk, the Department of Player Safety slapped Spezza with a 6-game suspension. Pionk was not injury on the play and didn't miss any time, aside from the 2-game suspension he served. It just didn't make sense.
At any rate, Crosby is a leader and a well-respected voice around the league. Hopefully, now that he has addressed the issue publicly, other players, coaches and executives come forward and demand more clearly defined rules and guidelines for suspensions. If the NHL is truly interested in growing the game, they'll have to work on the consistency factor here, both with suspensions and even with on-ice calls made by the officials.
Sidney Crosby publicly slams the NHL for loose and sketchy suspension rules

Do you agree with Crosby about the way the NHL handles suspensions?

Definitely. Good on Sid for speaking up17882 %
No, I think it's fine2210.1 %
Don't care either way177.8 %
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