Stone questions whether cross-checking should warrant suspension

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Count Mark Stone among those who are uneasy about the NHL's pledge to be more strict when enforcing cross-checking this season.

"I'd be lying if I said I never cross-checked guys," the Vegas Golden Knights captain told ESPN's Greg Wyshynski.

Stone believes it's engrained in the sport, but he understands trying to prevent something unfortunate from happening.

"Cross-checking has become almost natural in the game. I cross-check. I get cross-checked. That's just how it's been," he said. "But if they're trying to get rid of injuries, I can understand why they're doing it. It's a sensitive area. In the playoffs especially, it can get a little out of control."

Stone then winced when Wyshynski raised the possibility of cross-checking warranting suspensions.

"I don't know if it's that dangerous," the star winger said. "There are definitely other things (I'd) like to see them crack down on as far as supplemental discipline, compared to cross-checking."

On Thursday, the NHL promised there would be a "tighter standard of enforcement" of Rule 59, the current edict governing cross-checking, in 2021-22. The guidelines allow for the possibility of minor, major, and match penalties, as well as fines and suspensions "if deemed appropriate."

Then-Edmonton Oilers forward Alex Chiasson was the only player the NHL suspended for cross-checking last campaign. The league handed him a one-game ban for his hit on then-Toronto Maple Leafs forward Jimmy Vesey in March and also fined seven other players for cross-checking in 2021.

Stone is a two-time finalist for the Selke Trophy, which the league awards annually to its top defensive forward. The 29-year-old finished third in the voting last season after being chosen as the runner-up in 2018-19. Stone is the only winger to be a finalist for the honor since David Backes in 2011-12.

The Golden Knights named him their first-ever captain in January. Vegas acquired him a 2019 trade with the Ottawa Senators.

Stone questions whether cross-checking should warrant suspension
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