Montreal Canadiens: Department of Player Safety Proves Ineffective Once Again

MONTREAL, QC - JANUARY 30: Jesperi Kotkaniemi Montreal Canadiens (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)
MONTREAL, QC - JANUARY 30: Jesperi Kotkaniemi Montreal Canadiens (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images) /

Montreal Canadiens centre Jesperi Kotkaniemi is off to a great start to this third pro season. He started the season playing on the Habs third line with Tyler Toffoli and Joel Armia.

That line had to be reconfigured when Armia was injured with a concussion in a game against the Vancouver Canucks. Tyler Myers came across the ice and hit Armia in the head with his shoulder, forcing the Canadiens winger out of the lineup with a concussion.

The same thing very nearly happened to Kotkaniemi last night.

The Finnish centre was behind the Canadiens goal and bobbled the puck a little bit. He then changed direction to head back around the net and Flames forward Dillon Dube was flying in on the forecheck. As Kotkaniemi turned, Dube demolished him with a high body check that clearly made contact to Kotkaniemi’s head.

After watching a few slow motion replays, it is obvious that Dube doesn’t let up at all, which is fine, but finishes the hit as high as he can and leads with his elbow to Kotkaniemi’s face.

The referees on the ice deemed it a totally fine body check and then had to punish Shea Weber for pushing Dube after the whistle.

The fact the referees clearly can’t handle their job isn’t that surprising, and it wasn’t that shocking when George Parros showed he is ineffective at his own job.

Parros is the Head of the ironically named Department of Player Safety. What they have done to improve the safety of any player remains a mystery in the fourth years of his tenure as the head of the group.

The previous two people to run this department were Stephane Quintal and Brendan Shanahan. The only thing the three have in common is that they all have 1000 career penalty minutes. I’m still uncertain doing things that force a player to sit in a penalty box makes them more qualified to decide what is safe for players on the ice.

Parros apparently reviewed the above act and decided it was not worthy of so much as a slap on the wrist. There is no suspension for Dube, nor is there even a fine. Just another reminder to all players in the league that the Head of Player Safety thinks head shots are just fine.

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The league claims they want to get head shots out of the game. The first step towards that solution is clear, get George Parros out of the game and head shots will decrease. It sure worked when he finally took his skates off.