The NHL Department of Player Safety has suspended a player for questionable on-ice behavior. That player isn’t the one much of the hockey community was hoping would be suspended, though. It’s Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere!
Gostisbehere has been suspended for two games after stirring the pot late in the Flyers’ 7-3 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday. Just after former Flyer Mark Friedman scored an empty-net goal, Gostisbehere shoved him into the boards and sparked a melee along the end boards.
Here’s a replay of the hit, as well as the NHL’s explanation of why Gostisbehere is deserving of the suspension:
Gostisbehere is certainly deserving of this suspension. The hit was unnecessary and could have caused a serious injury to Friedman. However, it’s not the severity of Gostisbehere’s punishment that has the hockey world talking. Instead, it’s the punishment he received compared to that of Washington Capitals lightning rod Tom Wilson, who only received a $5,000 fine after going ballistic against the New York Rangers on Monday.
Wilson’s actions against the Rangers are ancient history at this point, but for those needing a refresher, Wilson sucker punched a face-down Pavel Buchnevich after the whistle and then proceeded to bodyslam a helmet-less Artemi Panarin to the ice in the midst of a busy scrum. He then ragdolled Panarin across the ice, causing a season-ending injury on the star forward. You can watch the full sequence here.
Wilson was only fined for punching Buchnevich. He has faced no repercussions for ending Panarin’s season.
The discipline handed out to Gostisbehere is yet another example of the Department of Player Safety’s notorious inconsistency. While the suspension given to Gostisbehere is fair, it is in no way more severe than the actions displayed by Wilson on Monday night.