It is not true that the National Hockey League is unconcerned about player safety. After the Vancouver Canucks’ nasty game against the Toronto Maple Leafs four weeks ago, the NHL took a stance on homicide.

Apparently, the league is against it.

“Matt Martin is dead!” Canuck defencemen Erik Gudbranson bellowed after the game. “Everyone can hear that right now. F—— dead!”

Judging by Twitter the night of Nov. 5, everyone did hear Gudbranson, the 24-year-old acquired last May from the Florida Panthers to bring size and toughness to Vancouver’s defence.

Now, while you may be able to explain away manslaughter in an NHL game — a spontaneous act of vengeance gone horribly and tragically wrong — there is no defending pre-meditated first-degree murder. Most people frown on that kind of thing.

“The next day I got a call from Colin Campbell,” Canuck general manager Jim Benning said of the NHL’s senior vice-president of hockey operations. “He said: ‘You can’t say stuff like that.’ We know stuff gets said on the ice all the time, but you can’t say what Erik said. He knows that.”

Indeed, Gudbranson has been fairly contrite this week when talking about his death threats to Martin, the fourth-line enforcer who visits Rogers Arena tonight with the Maple Leafs.