George Parros’ moustache has seen some things.
The Princeton graduate spent nine years in the NHL as an enforcer before retiring in 2014, and was named head of the league’s department of player safety on Sept. 7.
Some might wonder why the DoPS would hire a man with a career penalty minute-to-goal ratio of 60:1 to be in charge of the well-being of its athletes, but Parros believes the role he played makes him especially qualified to do just that.
“It’s a fair question and obviously something I’ve fielded before, but certainly I think in this position you want a former player that’s been on the front lines, knows how the game is played and as you said I think that I’m uniquely suited for the job because I’ve played the game as physically as anybody and never was fined or suspended,” Parros said on Tuesday’s Prime Time Sports appearance. “I felt like knew where the line was, I had a lot of respect for all of the players.”
The department of player safety has made a habit of hiring players who would never be considered for a Lady Byng Trophy during their careers. Brendan Shanahan and Chris Pronger have both made their way through that specific office during their post-playing days.
Don’t expect any drastic changes to be made by Parros, who did outline a few things he would be working on in his new role.
“Although no major reform is needed, I do feel like we can come down harder on non-hockey plays,” he said. “Plays that have nothing to do with where the puck’s at and where it is on the ice. If it’s an intentional or retaliatory type of play – especially causing injury – I think that we need to be harder on those types of things.”
Parros also takes over hoping to tone down the gratuitous slashing seen during games. Calgary Flames star Johnny Gaudreau broke his finger after getting hacked by the Minnesota Wild last November, while Ottawa’s Marc Methot’s digit was “shattered” thanks to Sidney Crosby’s stickwork.
“That’s going to be a moving target, but I’m out here with the officials this week in Buffalo and we’re all on the same page here and it’s something we’re going to be watching more,” said Parros. “Certainly something we need to, I’d say, hold under greater scrutiny. There (were) 791, I think, minor penalties for slashing last year alone. Obviously we’re not suspending 700 guys, but we want to clean that up and pay attention to that area.
“We don’t want guys with broken hands, we want guys to be able to make offensive plays and worry about playing the puck with the stick.”