Toronto Maple Leafs MVP Auston Matthews will have a hearing today regarding his cross-check in Sunday’s game, but he shouldn’t be suspended.
The Toronto Maple Leafs once again lost to the Buffalo Sabres on Sunday afternoon, but the game may not have been the only thing they lost. Near the end of the match, Auston Matthews and Rasmus Dahlin got involved in a stick fight and Matthews cross-checked Dahlin near the side of his face.
When the incident happened, it didn’t feel like a big deal. Neither player got hurt and it was a normal thing that happens in a heated hockey game.
Matthews was clearly angry and it makes sense why. I’d be mad if I lost to the Buffalo Sabres twice in two weeks and allowed five goals again. Sure, he probably shouldn’t have used his stick like that, but this is what happens in a physical sport.
If you look at the replay, he didn’t attack his head. He went at his shoulder and the momentum of his stick rode up his shoulder pad and barely hit him in the face.
It wasn’t a dirty play in any way, but instead, it was an unfortunate play that was worthy of a two-minute minor.
Auston Matthews Shouldn’t Get Suspended
After the game ended, the broadcast crew discussed this event and they spoke about it like Matthews had killed someone.
“Suspend him for four games” screamed Kelly Hrudey. For a player who played during the 1980s and 1990s, an era that loved fighting and hitting, you’d think he’d have a better idea of what a suspension is.
Brawls would happen routinely in his day and nobody would get suspended. Just watch this clip from 1984. If Hrudey skated down the ice to beat up John Vanbiesbrook while the other 10 guys on the ice were fighting in today’s game, I’m sure he’d get suspended for a month.
Crazy stuff like that happened all the time back in his day. I know today’s game is different, but there are 10 things worse in that one clip from Hrudey than what Matthews did yesterday and has ever done in his career.
Here’s what Matthews had to say about the incident after the game:
"“I haven’t seen the replay of it. It’s battling in front of the net. I felt like I kind of rode up his shoulder and his shoulder pad rolled up a little bit. That’s hockey,. It’s competitive out there. Guys are physical and trying to compete.” (via: sportsnet.ca)"
Matthews didn’t think it was a big deal and Dahlin also felt that way, as shown by his comments below:
"“It’s hockey,….Things happen out there. It’s intense. I’m fine.” (via: sportsnet.ca)"
Both players said essentially the same thing: “it’s hockey.”
Plays like this happen all the time and if this game happened in Carolina on a Wednesday night, I promise you that nobody would care. However, since it happened in a “Heritage Classic” and it involved Auston Matthews, then all of a sudden, it’s a big deal and someone should get suspended.
If Matthews get’s a suspension, the NHL should be ashamed of themselves. That play is maybe worthy of a fine, but that’s it. Hockey is a physical sport and nobody got hurt. Let’s move on from this already.