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Zadorov believes outside pressure may have impacted Soucy suspension


Vancouver Canucks defenceman Nikita Zadorov suggested Tuesday that public opinion and social media pressure may have led to the league's decision to suspend his teammate Carson Soucy.

Soucy received a one-game suspension on Monday for cross-checking Edmonton Oilers star Connor McDavid in the face in the seconds following the final buzzer of Vancouver's 4-3 win in Game 3 on Sunday. Soucy's cross-check landed as high as it did because McDavid was falling forward after a cross-check from behind by Zadorov, who was fined $5,000 on Monday. 

“Unfortunately that’s the world we’re living in,” Zadorov said Tuesday of outside pressure potentially impacting the decision to suspend Soucy. "...They have to protect their investment. That’s my understanding.”

Soucy said Monday he was not intending to injure McDavid on the play, which landed him a minor penalty with no time left on the clock. McDavid was not hurt on the play and called the incident part of heated series between the Canadian rivals.

“It’s just an unfortunate incident due to some timing. … Obviously there wasn’t intent to get a player up that high," Soucy said prior to the suspension being announced. “Emotions run high in those scrums at the end of the game.”

Holding a 2-1 lead in the second-round series, the Canucks will turn to defenceman Noah Juulsen to replace Soucy in Game 4 Tuesday. 

Soucy will draw back into the team's lineup for the first time since April 23, appearing in his second game of the playoffs after dressing for one game during the first round against the Nashville Predators.

“I just think we’re lucky to have him as our seventh defenceman," Canucks head coach Rick Tocchet said of Juulsen Monday. "He’s been a big contributor all year and played in some tough spots.

“We’re really confident in ‘Juuls.’”

Soucy will be eligible to return for Game 5 in Vancouver on Thursday.