The Edmonton Oilers captain and one of the best players in the world Connor McDavid called out another player while calling on the NHL for stronger enforcement. On Monday night, the Oilers hosted the Calgary Flames. In the third period, McDavid charged toward the net when Chris Tanev stuck out his leg and got his stick into McDavid’s feet, sending the elite player crashing into Flames goalie Jacob Markstrom.
Fortunately, McDavid and Markstrom were uninjured. However, the 24-year-old called it a dangerous play. The three-time Art Ross Trophy and Ted Lindsay Award winner and two-time Hart Memorial Trophy winner wants the League to enforce its rules.
Oilers’ head coach, Dave Tippett, said it was clearly a penalty, “trip, look at it. It’s a trip. If the guy doesn’t drag his leg, Connor jumps inside of him, and he doesn’t hit the goalie. It’s a trip. It should’ve been a tripping call. Now the guy trips when he goes into Markstrom. He trips him 10 feet away from the goalie. Whether he meant to do it or not, he drags his leg, and Connor jumps in, and he gets tripped. That is a penalty.”
Ironically, the Flames challenged the play as the collision resulted in a goal. Calgary wanted goaltender interference, but the officials saw that McDavid was forced into the goalie. The Flames took the penalty with the failed challenge, and Edmonton scored on the ensuing powerplay.
Familiar Scene for Oilers’ McDavid
The scene was eerily similar to a frightening incident that took place on April 6, 2019. McDavid was going full speed when he lost his footing and crashed into the net. Except for that time, his leg hit the goal post resulting in a complete posterior cruciate ligament tear, a torn meniscus on both sides of the knee, a cracked tibia. McDavid later said he thought his leg was in two pieces.
The fact is the game is getting faster. Players are moving much more quickly and jumping to the outside to cut around defencemen at high rates of speed. Unfortunately, without some sort of enforcement, these incidents are bound to happen at an increased frequency. As McDavid alluded, the NHL wants more offence. The League has said it will step up the cross-checking calls for the 2021-22 season. Perhaps it should be looking at the same increased enforcement for tripping.
Kevin Armstrong is an award-winning journalist with more than two decades of experience. He’s been rink side for World Juniors, Memorial Cups, Calder Cups and Stanley Cups. Like many Canadian kids, his earliest memories include hockey. Kevin has spent countless hours in arenas throughout the country watching all levels of the game.