Oilers' Connor McDavid suspended two games for hit to the head of Islanders' Nick Leddy
McDavid caught Leddy with his shoulder
Oilers center Connor McDavid had a hearing with the NHL's Department of Player Safety on Friday for a check to the head on the Islanders' Nick Leddy. McDavid received a two-game suspension for the hit, in which he caught Leddy's head with his shoulder. The Oilers' next two games are Saturday against the Ducks and Monday against the Predators.
Needless to say, it's a debilitating blow for the Oilers, who are once against towards the bottom in the Western Conference standings. McDavid's 85 points are good for third in the NHL, and his 32 goals account for nearly 20 percent of the Oilers' 169 goals on the season. It's the first time McDavis has been disciplined by the NHL for a hit -- although this was a clear cut case of head contact.
The Oilers are at 56 points for the season, tied for the third-lowest total in hockey with the Devils. Only the Kings and Senators trail them. McDavid has been the one bright spot on the team for the second year in a row.
It was an uncharacteristic play from from the 2017 Hart Memorial Trophy winner, who seemed to completely give up on playing the puck midway through the play. According to the DPS, McDavid's contact was avoidable. "While we understand McDavid's assertion that he is taking this angle of approach because he is attempting to make a play on the puck, he alone is responsible for the subsequent head contact on this play ... If McDavid wishes to solely play the puck on this play, he must take an angle of approach that does not result in his shoulder squarely hitting Leddy's head," the Department of Player Safety said in its explanation.
Ultimately, the assertion from the DPS is that McDavid took the wrong angle to the puck and that resulted in the hit on Leddy. It's a bit surprising to see one of hockey's biggest stars get two games for a first-time offense. Time will tell if the DPS is consistent with the message it's sending with this suspension.
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