A big question was asked on Tuesday following the obvious lack of protection for Edmonton Oilers' Connor McDavid: is it time for him to take matters into his hands? We all saw how he was treated during the past couple of days...
There has been a lot of controversy on the play that saw McDavid crosschecked into the boards by Hampus Lindholm of the Anaheim Ducks without penalty on Sunday. The officials and the NHL were criticized for the decision, especially since the league did not discipline Lindholm for the hit that launched McDavid shoulder-first into the boards, stating that Lindholm does not have a reputation for unsportsmanlike behaviour and no penalty was assessed on the play.
In his latest 31 Thoughts column on Sportsnet, NHL insider Elliotte Friedman believes McDavid's reputation is to blame in this.
Say what? Yes, you read right. The kid is so nice that referees keep assuming he won't argue to get a call on a play:
"When there was no penalty on Hampus Lindholm for driving McDavid into the boards during that game, I wondered if the Oilers captain had a bad reputation among officials or something. In fact, I’m told it is the exact opposite — that he barely says anything and just goes about his business like a true professional. That penalty has to be called, though. Thankfully, there was no injury. You can’t call everything, but McDavid deserves better protection from the officials than that."
The hit got Sportsnet's Nick Kypreos going on Tuesday: the insider is adamant that this should convince McDavid to take matter into his own hands and send a message to the entire league, starting by his own teammates as no one came to his defense after the hit.
"If I'm Connor right now, and I have issues and I know my lineup's tough but they are not consistent for me or they're not there for me, whether you're Connor McDavid or any of the other stars, you almost have to start taking matter into your own hands. I would have loved Connor McDavid to turn around and two-hand Lindholm. I don't care. And then pull everybody in. Drag them in!"
Kypreos' speech intensified, noting that if McDavid has had enough of the league not helping players out with dangerous, that he should do something even if it means getting suspended. After all, the Oilers' captain will be making millions for several years in the NHL, so why not invest a few thousands by getting suspended but to send a very important message out there.
"If Connor gets suspended for a couple of games, so be it. Send a message! Send a message that I am not taking this and say ' You want to shove me in the boards, then I'm gonna take my stick and jam it down your throat! I don't care if I get two games, 10 games, I will make $150 to $200 million by the end of my career, I will spend 50 grand, I'll spend a 100 grand, just to send a message to you and everybody else: I ain't taking this!'"
The Oilers took another beating on Tuesday night, losing 7-2 at the hands of the San Jose Sharks. The NHL should make sure the right calls are made on the ice, even if a star player like McDavid will never complain about it.
Or maybe he will from now on...