Suspending Flyers’ Gostisbehere Highlights NHL Nepotism


The NHL Player Safety committee has suspended the Philadelphia Flyers’ Shayne Gostisbehere for two games, highlighting leaguewide nepotism.

As the Pittsburgh Penguins put the finishing touches on the Philadelphia Flyers, a moment of frustration sparked controversy throughout the league.

Mark Friedman, formerly on the Flyers roster this season, was shoved from behind after scoring an empty-net goal by Shayne Gostisbehere. While unnecessary, the shove lacked emphasis. Friedman, who is known for drawing penalties, embellished the check. You would think Friedman was on the receiving end of a paranormal force. Ultimately, it was an intelligent play.

Gostisbehere received a two-minute minor penalty for cross-checking. On the ensuing powerplay, the Penguins scored. Sidney Crosby tallied his third point of the game with an assist to John Marino.

Considering what happened, Gostisbehere should have only received the penalty. He doesn’t have a previous history of NHL suspensions due to questionable play.

Instead of only receiving a penalty, Gostisbehere received a two-game suspension. He’ll sacrifice $77,586.20 of his salary over his adjournment. The decision by the NHL and NHL Player Safety may end Gostisbehere’s season. It’s an egregious ruling by George Parros, recently called “unfit” for his role by the New York Rangers organization.

A Little About Parros

In his prime, George Parros was a former NHL enforcer. He never surpassed ten points but accumulated more than a hundred penalty minutes in six of his nine seasons. His playing style articulates his take on hockey. Some, more than others, are getting away with dirty collisions under Parros’ watch.

Parros glorifies the violence of hockey. He flirts with the line of playing physically and taking advantage of defenseless players. The “Violent Gentleman,” as the name of his clothing line suggests, made a career out of picking fights.

Throughout his career, Parros averaged just under six minutes of ice time. He found a home in the penalty box, which raises eyebrows as to why he, of all people, is making the decisions for NHL Player Safety.

In fact, Parros hesitated to suspend a highly controversial player earlier this season.

Tom Wilson has been suspended six times in eight seasons. His latest suspension, six weeks ago, was a seven-game suspension after ramming Brandon Carlo headfirst into the boards. A check that damaged Carlo’s brain via concussion almost went without any repercussions from Parros. Gary Bettman reversed Parros’ decision, rightfully suspending Wilson.

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A Bad Joke

Unless you are George Parros or a part of the NHL Player Safety board, you don’t need more evidence that Tom Wilson should face a longer-term suspension after his dirty, violent outburst against the New York Rangers.

He began by running Pavel Buchnevich to the ice, face first. Wilson followed with a stiff punch to the Buchnevich’s face, who was defenseless. Artemi Panarin tried to stand up for Buchnevich, but Wilson slammed his head into the ice. Two Rangers players could have suffered a concussion. None of this needed to happen, but New York responded to Wilson taking liberties with Buchnevich.

For all of that, Wilson only received a $5k fine. No suspension included from Parros.

Comparing to the Flyers

In comparison, Shayne Gostisbehere’s verdict doesn’t fit the crime. Due to the criticism from fans and franchise owners, Parros and the NHL Player Safety board made a point with Gostisbehere. It’s an awful conclusion for a player with a clean record.

The NHL is allowing nepotism to run rampant when disciplining players. Wilson, arguably, could be on an indefinite suspension at his rate. Players on playoff teams aren’t facing the correct consequences as the season approaches the postseason. A balanced criticism of all NHL players seemingly escapes the league with playoff ratings around the corner.

Photo Credit: Alex McIntyre