When the Philadelphia Flyers were trying to kill off a late Montreal power-play in Game5, Matt Niskanen lost his cool. It came at the hands of Canadiens agitator, Brendan Gallagher.
After being cross-checked to the ice by Gallagher, Niskanen would get up & make an unnecessary play. Niskanen would hit Gallagher with a cross-check of his own. In doing so, struck Gallagher in the chin. Causing Gallagher to miss the final 5-mins of play.
The NHL Department of Player Safety reviewed the play & requested Matt Niskanen for a hearing today in Toronto.
After the hearing, the NHL Department of Player Safety suspended Matt Niskanen for Game 6.
Philadelphia’s Matt Niskanen has been suspended for one playoff game for Cross-checking Montreal’s Brendan Gallagher. https://t.co/x8zPyvNmGX
— NHL Player Safety (@NHLPlayerSafety) August 21, 2020
Now, I fully believe Niskanen deserved the suspension. However, the NHL Department of Player Safety justification & response is just another reason why it remains a complete & utter joke.
In their explanation, the NHL Department of Player Safety agreed with not only with the Flyers explanation of it being a hockey play. But, also Matt Niskanen’s own explanation and still chose to suspend.
The NHL Department of Player Safety has been the most inconsistent up & down department since George Parros took over in 2017. With questionable explanations & even more questionable suspensions.
With a suspension looming, the Montreal Canadiens tried to influence the decision even more & broke NHL protocol.
The Canadiens announced that Brendan Gallagher would miss the rest of the series with a broken jaw. Now, this may have been normal pre-covid. However, this is far from normal now & it broke NHL protocol.
Due to Covid, the NHL put a mandate in that all injuries to players would not be announced to the public. All responses to injuries were supposed to be “unfit to play”. But, Montreal took it upon themselves to release Gallagher’s injury information.
While it didn’t have an effect on the suspension, it remains to be seen if the NHL will do something to the Canadiens for breaking protocol. But, don’t get too worried about that. The NHL will probably just slap them on the wrist with a small fine.
With Matt Niskanen now out for Game 6, expect Shayne Gostisbehere to re-enter the lineup.