Montreal Canadiens: Department of Player Safety Unconcerned About Joel Armia’s Safety

VANCOUVER, BC - JANUARY 20: Joel Armia Montreal Canadiens (Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images)
VANCOUVER, BC - JANUARY 20: Joel Armia Montreal Canadiens (Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images) /

Montreal Canadiens forward Joel Armia had a bit of a slow start to this season. He didn’t quite look comfortable in the first few games and turned the puck over more often than we are accustomed to seeing from him.

Typically, the big Finnish right winger makes smart plays with the pucks and is usually the one causing turnovers and not being victimized by them.

We started to see that when the Canadiens landed in Vancouver to take on the Canucks on Wednesday night and then he looked fantastic on Thursday night in a rematch with the Canucks.

Armia was playing the best game he has ever played in a Habs sweater Thursday. He looked dangerous on every shift at even strength with Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Tyler Toffoli and he was creating scoring chances regularly while shorthanded as well. He had an assist less than two minutes into the game as he and Toffoli banged away at a loose puck before Toffoli scored. Then, Toffoli set Armia up for a breakaway while shorthanded and Armia scored.

Armia would cut off a pass and cause a turnover while shorthanded and quickly move the puck up ice to Toffoli who would then score his own shorthanded breakaway goal. Armia then scored his second of the game on a beautiful deke in tight to make the game 6-2 late in the second period with his fourth point of the night.

Unfortunately, Armia’s night would end a little early on a dangerous hit by Canucks defenceman Tyler Myers.

As the above video shows, Myers approached Armia at a 90 degree angle and made significant contact with his head on the hit. The Department of Player Safety deemed this a legal hit because Myers also made contact with Armia’s chest (and apparently his right shoulder?)

The NHL has long said they want to get these types of hits out of the game. They have also long acted like they have no real desire to get rid of these hits unless a superstar player like Marc Savard is severely injured by one.

There is no question in my mind that a hit with this much head contact deserves a five minute penalty, which Myers was slapped with, but also deserves a suspension. The NHL doesn’t need Tyler Myers running around taking the head off a guy who has four points that night.

However, the league decides to have a former goon, George Parros, run the Department of Player Safety. Now, the Canucks will play the Habs again tonight, and the guy who threw a dangerous hit will be in the lineup, and the guy who scored two goals and four points will be out with a concussion.

All because the person who is supposed to be overseeing player safety is more worried about the “Old boys club of the NHL” where head shots and dangerous checks are just part of the game. I hope Parros enjoys the inevitable Joel Edmundson vs Tyler Myers fight tonight. They’ve done it before when both were wearing different jerseys, and they’ll certainly do it again tonight.

Hopefully no one gets injured in this very predictable fight. If they do, we know the head of player safety won’t bat an eye.