The NHL needs to do more to protect its star players, per one prominent agent.
The NHL dropped the puck on the 2020-21 season last night, and while most fans and players around the league were brimming with excitement and unbridled joy, one particular individual wasn’t quite happy.
The Edmonton Oilers hosted the Vancouver Canucks last night in the fourth game of a quintuple-header to begin the 2020-21 NHL season. Hockey fans were buzzing on social media all night as the opening slate of games saw Sidney Crosby do…Sidney Crosby things, Joe Thornton suit up for a new team for the first time since 2005 and young players like Joel Farabee, William Nylander and Brock Boeser light it up across North America.
Nothing much to gripe about right? Well, not everyone was satisfied with how night one went.
Jeff Jackson, Connor McDavid’s agent, took to Twitter last night to voice his concerns that his client wasn’t necessarily getting a fair treatment on the ice.
Great to see NHL hockey back last night. Such amazing athletes & so much speed & skill in the game now. But watching the abuse that star players take is hard to watch. Felt like the 80’s with the cross checks in the back & the hacking & slashing. NFL protects QB’s? Why don’t we?
— Jeff Jackson (@JLJax12) January 14, 2021
The NHL has long has an issue with star treatment
Jackson has a point. The game is better when the best players in the league are able to shine, and also have the rules levied against them to the same extent as every other player.
Also, the NHL has historically been slower than other leagues to properly address and deal with the issue of concussions and other related head injuries in their sport. The league is still afraid to touch the topic of fighting which is seemingly directly related to head injuries.
That being said, Jackson is also making an apples to oranges argument.
Quarterbacks are protected by certain rules in the NFL partly because of how vulnerable to major injury the position is. While many QBs are star players, they aren’t protected expressly because of their star status. The protection is levied upon the position.
The league can’t enforce the rules more strictly because an offense happens against McDavid or Crosby — that creates an uneven playing field.
However, if what Jackson is calling for is that a slash or cross check against a star player get called the same it would if it happened to a bottom-six player, then there should be no argument there. In fact, you’d have to wonder why league officials weren’t already doing that in the first place.
Either way, we’d expect McDavid not to comment on this and continue to do what he does best — put teams in an absolute spin cycle on the ice.