NHL Showed Inconsistency with Lauzon’s Suspension, Bruins Unhappy

The Boston Bruins got a little taste of everything referees-wise over the past weekend. On Saturday, the Bruins downed the Arizona Coyotes for their sixth straight victory.

In the first period, Jeremy Lauzon, having left the penalty box, eagerly jumped into the hit against Derek Stepan. Stepan, with injury history, was dazed on the ice after the hit, where Lauzon got Stepan’s chin with his elbow.

The referees decided to asses a five-minute major penalty to Lauzon, who was later suspended for two games. Lauzon already served the first game of his suspension against the Detroit Red Wings.

Firstly, Lauzon deserved an appropriate punishment for his illegal checking to the head. Nevertheless, the NHL, once again, showed inconsistency with its calls and suspensions.

At the beginning of the second period, right after Arizona took a 1-0 lead in the winding moments of that five-minute power play, Lawson Crouse got Charlie McAvoy up high. This time, after a similarly looking hit, Crouse received only two minutes for “roughing.”

The Bruins couldn’t be happy with that ruling, as Crouse did nothing less, maybe only more, to McAvoy than Lauzon did to Stepan. The message should be clear, the NHL should protect, mainly, its young players from concussions and hits to the head. McAvoy already had a concussion last year.

“One goes for a match penalty and the other is two minutes. Brad Meier was the one that called both, so only he can answer how he saw them. He’s been in the league for a long time, so I assume he’s got a good grasp on those things. I thought the hit was high on Charlie and we were fortunate he wasn’t concussed,” said Bruce Cassidy after the game in Detroit on Sunday.

For Stepan, who already is an established NHL star and leader, the protection is reasonable. The League protected him and handled a learning lesson to young rookie Lauzon, who became a first-time offender.

What about defending McAvoy, as well? For the 22-year-old former first-round draft pick, who missed almost two months last season with post-concussion symptoms, the NHL should have done at least the same thing as with Lauzon’s punishment. Plain simple.

Cheap shots happen regularly, and the Bruins are well-aware of it. However, sometimes, you can’t protect yourself.

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