Canucks’ Soucy says cross-check on Oilers’ McDavid ‘just an unfortunate incident’

Photo credit:John Geliebter-USA TODAY Sports
Jeff Paterson
1 month ago
Vancouver Canucks defenceman Carson Soucy now knows he won’t be able to play in Game 4 of this heated Western Conference semifinal series with the Edmonton Oilers.
Soucy had a brief phone hearing with the National Hockey League on Monday after a cross-check to the face of Oilers captain Connor McDavid at the final buzzer of Sunday’s 4-3 Canucks victory.
The 29-year-old defenceman said he told his side of the story to the league in the hope that there would be no further supplemental discipline. It proved fruitless, as the NHL’s Player Safety department handed down a one-game suspension later in the day.
“Obviously. just an unfortunate incident due to some timing,” Soucy told the assembled media after participating in a Canucks optional skate on Monday afternoon, before the suspension was doled out. “That’s really all I’d like to say on it. There was no intent to get a player up that high, so I just kind of think an unfortunate incident.”
As time expired, McDavid whacked Soucy in the pants with his stick. As Soucy went to respond, Nikita Zadorov cross-checked McDavid in Soucy’s direction. As a result, Soucy’s stick caught McDavid in the face. Soucy was assessed a two-minute cross-checking penalty on the play in question.
On Monday, the league’s Department of Player Safety issued Zadorov a $5,000 fine and held a phone hearing with Soucy. McDavid did not hear from the league on the matter.
Soucy says as cooler heads prevailed on the ice, he had a quick word with McDavid about the incident.
“If you can see afterward, it’s almost apologizing – I just I said I didn’t mean to get him up that high,” he explained. “He was obviously pretty fired up because it looks bad and it probably felt bad, but there was no intention to get him up that high. Just emotions run high at the end of the game.”
With Soucy now suspended for Tuesday’s game, the Canucks will likely turn to Noah Juulsen to take his place. Juulsen will presumably play his natural right side, allowing Ian Cole to slide back to the left. 
Soucy and Tyler Myers have been tasked with the unenviable assignment of trying to keep McDavid in check in this series. So far the Oilers superstar has a goal and four assists, with four of the points coming in last Friday’s 5-4 overtime victory. Otherwise, McDavid has had one point over the other two games of the series.
While awaiting word from the league, Soucy didn’t want to contemplate being forced to miss any action at this point of a series that is reaching a boiling point.
“It would suck at this time in a tight series,” Soucy said. “I know guys would step up, but it sucks having to watch your team.”
For his part, Canucks head coach Rick Tocchet downplayed the incident.
“In playoffs, there are a lot of scrums and a lot of things happen,” the coach said. “His intent was probably, after he got slashed, to hit him in the chest and unfortunately he went down.”
This is the second time Soucy has been called before the league on a supplemental discipline issue. The first time involved a high hit on Conor Garland when he was in Arizona and while Soucy was a member of the Minnesota Wild in March of 2021.
This time, it was a different Connor at the centre of things. The Canucks can now only wait until Soucy becomes eligible to return to the lineup for Thursday’s pivotal Game 5.

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