NHL Department of Player Safety explains why suspensions have been so much shorter this season

The NHL Department of Player Safety has been under quite a microscope this season. It seems like most suspensions are only for one or two games and that stars are getting suspended a bit more frequently. Players such as Connor McDavid, Evgeni Malkin, Jack Eichel and Mike Giordano, have all been hit with suspension this year but all of them have been for short periods of time.

As a result, the apparent randomness of how long players are being suspended for has been controversial. Department of Player Safety head George Parros believes he has a just explanation.

"That doesn't have to do with the fact that they're higher-end players," Parros told ESPN. "That has to do with the fact that they are first-time offenders. Just in general, as we approach these hearings, we don't take into account the player's history, or any injury on the play for that matter, until we follow through with a suspension."

Malkin's suspension caused controversy, but when Jakub Voracek of the Flyers was hit with one it led to an appeal of a two-gamer. While it was upheld, the NHL isn't like the NFL in that suspensions and fines are immediately appealed by the NHLPA.

"It's part of the rules. The players have a right to do so. He's a passionate guy and it was crunch time for Philly. There's no concern on my end," Parros said of the appeal.

Voracek's appeal may or may not end up setting a precedent, but of the NHL's suspensions this year, only three have been for three-plus games, barring Tom Wilson's 20-game suspension which was reduced to 14 games by arbitration. In the case of the Wilson suspension, it was so much longer than others because the DoPS ruled that the primary point of contact on the hit was the head and that the collision could have been avoided altogether.

Though the Department of Player Safety has been much maligned for its handling of punishments -- particularly the ones doled out to McDavid, Malkin and Voracek -- Parros doesn't seem particularly concerned. As the NHL comes down the home stretch this year, it'll hope to avoid any more incidents going into the postseason.

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