NHL fans have criticized the NHL Department of Player Safety. Many have claimed they’re inconsistent in disciplining players after dangerous hits and injuries.
After Detroit forward David Perron was suspended for six games after a crosschecking on an opponent, as a retaliation for Red Wings captain Dylan Larkin getting knocked out on the ice, his agent absolutely slammed the department, calling out its head, George Parros.
In a game against Ottawa earlier in December, Larkin got knocked unconscious after a collision with Mathieu Joseph and Parker Kelly.
He missed the following three games but returned on Monday against the Ducks.
Now, the Red Wings captain calls out the Department of Player Safety, claiming that he and other players in the NHL don’t feel safe.
“As a player, I’m closely attached because I just went through something, but I’ve talked to guys on our team, guys on other teams, it’s hard to feel safe out there, it’s hard to know how to protect yourself,” Larkin said Tuesday. “I truly believe we have the best refs in the world in the NHL. I just think it’s the message being sent down from the top is what is safe and what it not and how to discipline, there’s a lot of questions there and it’s kind of scary as a player.”
Joseph was given a five-minute major penalty for the collision with Larkin, but it was later changed after review to a minor penalty for roughing.
But while Perron, who retaliated on Artem Zub, who he thought injured Larkin, got suspended for six games, no player was disciplined for injuring the Red Wings captain.
“It’s just not something you want to be a part of,” Larkin said. “I was not happy with how it went and how the after-effects went. It’s not really a hockey play and it’s just unfortunate that’s how my last week has been.
“This instance, watching it back, I wasn’t really doing anything. I just was kind of trying to make a play on the puck, and just standing there really. … How do you protect yourself? Who’s protecting you? There’s a lot of (unanswered questions) in our sport right now.”
There have been a lot of incidents in the NHL in the last couple of weeks, and the NHL Department of Player Safety has been getting some heat from fans.
Larkin said he sees things differently after his incident and that players demand safety and consistency on calls.
“It’s been really on my mind, a lot,” Larkin said. “You always see what’s going on around the league so maybe it’s because I’m thinking about it more, I don’t believe so… there’s a lot going on and that’s all I have to say.”