Jason Zucker Slapped With Multi-Game Suspension in Controversial Decision

The NHL Department of Player Safety held a late-night meeting on Wednesday in order to deal with an incident involving Arizona Coyotes forward Jason Zucker and Florida Panthers forward Nick Cousins. In a controversial decision, Zucker's boarding infraction has cost him a three-game suspension without pay. But many couldn't understand how Cousins was not disciplined as well.

The incident occurred in the second period of Tuesday’s game when Zucker was handed a five-minute major and game misconduct for heavily boarding Cousins in a retaliatory hit. Cousins had just delivered a dangerous hit from behind on Coyotes defenseman Juuso Valimaki while he was in a vulnerable position. Valimaki was not injured, but Cousins is now in concussion protocol. 

Zucker was also taken to task by Cousins’ teammate, defenseman Gustav Forsling, after the incident.

What many observers are upset about is that Cousins, who hasn’t exactly been a choir boy either in this, or other questionable hits he’s delivered this season, was not hit up by NHL Player Safety. Even former NHL referee Tim Peel called the decision "a joke":

In its ruling, the DoPS stated, “Zucker approaches from behind and delivers a check on the defenceless Cousins, driving him dangerously into the boards and causing an injury.”

Despite having no previous disciplinary action in his 657-game NHL career, Zucker will now have to sit out three games for this infraction. It also costs him $82,812 in salary.