Opinion Piece: Slashing. Will the League Actually Crack Down?

crosby-slash-on-methot

We all heard the announcement earlier. The league is going to be stricter on slashing calls.

We saw it plenty last season as well. Hell, Marc Methot’s finger was nearly shattered by an aggressive slash made by Sidney Crosby during a 2-1 win by the Senators back in March. You can look up the footage, plain as day. You can see the tip of Methot’s finger hanging limply like a splintered piece of wood. So why no penalty? Why no hearing? Why was Crosby simply able to get away with such a grisly and downright violent hit? Luckily we may have answers this upcoming season. Or so we hope.

There are plenty of reasons to believe in the league’s favouritism of Sidney Crosby. Remember Ryan O’Reilly’s nether-regions becoming a target just days before the slash that took out Methot? Look at the treatment handed down to Brad Marchand last season for a similar play. And before you say “well look at his rap sheet!” just think about this for a moment, where did it begin? When does it begin? When do incidents like these start to form a rap sheet? Because each time you make the excuse for Crosby that he doesn’t have the same history as players like Marchand, you’re adding yet another excuse to a building rap sheet that keeps stacking on older offences. And Crosby’s is looking to get even longer as his time in the NHL goes on, yet still with no discipline.

Look at Crosby’s behaviour in the Stanley Cup Final toward Predators defenceman P.K. Subban. Yeah, the guy got under his skin, but as a guy at Crosby’s level, he needs to realise where to quit and play respectfully. Both guys get tangled up behind the goal and with Crosby on top, he repeatedly bashes Subban’s head into the ice. Yet, with an official standing right over the two of them, not a single call was made until Subban retaliated. Later in the night, he adds to his behaviour by tossing a water bottle at a passing player.

You can disagree, but my thoughts are that had these acts not been committed by NHL superstar Sidney Crosby, he would have a rap sheet built by now that would earn him the exact same treatment as players like Brad Marchand.

Now, I’ve gotten a little bit off topic. We’re talking about slashing calls. Another example of the complete lack of attention on these calls comes with Johnny Gaudreau who lost weeks at the hands of Minnesota’s Eric Staal. That game was chock full of slashing and yet, just how many were called? And why weren’t they?

My thoughts on these two matters differ with the league’s announcement today of harsher calls on slashing. Because if Crosby can allude calls on several types of offences all throughout the game, who’s to say these new “harsher” rules will affect him? Players like Staal, sure, but probably not Crosby.

Which is why I say the league needs to not only look into slashing, but every call, every player, and focus on special treatment of superstars. It shouldn’t fly in a league where player’s careers are ended by such negligence.

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