- Emily Kaplan is ESPN’s national NHL reporter.
San Jose Sharks forward Evander Kane ripped the NHL’s Department of Player Safety for a “major lack of consistency” on Saturday after he was suspended three games for elbowing.
In a statement he posted on his Twitter account, Kane called out NHL disciplinarian George Parros — a former enforcer himself — and the Department of Player Safety, saying suspendable plays have “become a complete guess.”
“A completely flawed system in so many ways,” Kane wrote. “From the suspensions to the appeals rights, it’s baffling to me how we as players agreed to this. You can’t continue to give some players a pass and throw the book at others. There has to be an outside third party making these decisions to remove that bias that transpires in this department headed by George Parros. None of it makes any sense.”
Kane was assessed a minor penalty for elbowing Winnipeg Jets defenseman Neal Pionk in the third period of Friday night’s game, a 3-2 San Jose win. The NHL announced Kane’s three game suspension on Saturday. According to the CBA, Kane also must forfeit $112,903.23 (a sum calculated based off Kane’s average salary). That money goes to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.
Kane is considered a repeat offender, which factored into the length of suspension. The 28-year-old has been suspended three times previously in his 703-game NHL career — including two run-ins with the NHL’s Department of Player Safety this season.
A day before the season opener, Kane was suspended three games for physical abuse of officials during a preseason game. On Dec. 4, Kane was fined $5,000 — the maximum allowed under the CBA — for elbowing Washington Capitals defenseman Radko Gudas.
In a video explanation of his most recent suspension, the NHL Department of Player Safety noted that Kane “raised his arm up and away from his core and directly into Pionk’s head” while Kane “was in control of this play at all times.” Pionk finished the game.
Kane is the Sharks’ leading scorer this season with 21 goals. It’s been a difficult season for San Jose, a team that had serious Stanley Cup aspirations but has a losing record through 57 games and is 10 points out of the Western Conference wild-card race.
Also on Saturday, the Sharks announced that defenseman Erik Karlsson would miss the remainder of the season after fracturing his thumb in Friday’s game. Karlsson will undergo surgery, but is expected to be ready for the 2020-21 season.
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