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Letang suspended 2 games, Shanahan explains

Posted on: October 18, 2011 4:37 pm
Edited on: October 18, 2011 5:33 pm
 
By: Adam Gretz

After a hearing on Tuesday afternoon for his boarding penalty on Winnipeg's Alex Burmistrov on Monday night, Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang was issued a two-game suspension by the NHL. As he has done since the start of the preseason, the NHL's new discipline chief, Brendan Shanahan, came out with a video explanation, breaking down the play and why the punishment was handed out.

Said Shanahan of the play that resulted in a two-minute minor for boarding during the Jets' 2-1 win, "Letang recognizes that Burmistrov will get to the puck first and Letang gets into an athletic, defensive position. At this point, this is no longer a puck that is up for grabs and Letang is going to play the man. In our opinion, Burmistrov's path to the puck is predictable, and there are no sudden movements just prior or simultaneous with the hit. In spite of the fact that Letang is looking at Burmistrov in the numbers, he finishes his check hard and with authority, and fails to minimize the check."

The NHL rule book (rule 41) says that "The onus is on the player applying the check to ensure his opponent is not in a vulnerable position and if so, he must avoid the contact," while also adding that the player on the receiving end also has some responsibility for not putting himself in a vulnerable position. In this case the NHL ruled that Burmistrov did not do that, and Letang should have made an effort to lessen the hit.

Here's Shanahan's complete explanation.



Letang was fined last April for a similar play.

He will now miss Pittsburgh's game on Tuesday against Minnesota, as well as Thursday's home game against Montreal. The Penguins, having played the most games of any team in the NHL at this point, are also dealing with a number of injuries and will be without Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Tyler Kennedy, Brooks Orpik and Letang against the Wild.

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Comments

Since: Apr 21, 2009
Posted on: October 19, 2011 2:35 pm
 

Letang suspended 2 games, Shanahan explains

Letang is professional hockey player with professional skating skills, he looked the man in the numbers and had plenty of time to react and lay off. I agree there was no intent to injure but I don't think that is why he is suspended as much as the danger of the play.




a very informed and well spoken take on the matter. clearly was a boarding call and he did NOT lay off. he tried to bury the guy. it is what it is guys. if Ovechkin did it, and he has, i would say the same thing.  



Since: Apr 21, 2009
Posted on: October 19, 2011 2:34 pm
 

Letang suspended 2 games, Shanahan explains

i am laughing so hard that some pens fans thought that was a LEGAL hit or didnt deserve suspension. meanwhile, when a Jay Beagle love tapped a Letang it was "going after letang" and "vicious hit" and so on. 


to freakin funny. 


guess what... Shanny has played a few more games than ya there, Crosby = best.


guess what... that was the definition of boarding.


and guess what... Letang now has a decent history of this sort of thing.


HE'S A GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOON!!!!!!
 



Since: Jul 30, 2009
Posted on: October 19, 2011 2:02 pm
 

Letang suspended 2 games, Shanahan explains

I'm not thrilled with suspending him, I'd be in favor of handing out misconducts on hits like this in lue of suspensions and if the player continues to deliver them then suspend him. To someone's point earlier now what happens, next time he has boarding call will they suspend him 10 games. With that said in Shanahan's defense he is there to do a job. Letang is professional hockey player with professional skating skills, he looked the man in the numbers and had plenty of time to react and lay off. I agree there was no intent to injure but I don't think that is why he is suspended as much as the danger of the play.



Since: Nov 21, 2006
Posted on: October 19, 2011 1:29 pm
 

Letang suspended 2 games, Shanahan explains

You nailed it head on with that.  With such a fast paced game dirty hits are going to happen.  You can look around the league at some of the most standup players in the NHL.  Alot of them have been involved in borderline hits at some point in career.  Not because they wanted to hurt anyone.  Simply the game moves fast, and somtimes you just can't do anything about it.  Heck take Ovie for instance.  He was suspended last season.  If your the league do you really want it wrote in stone the next time he's involved in a so/so hit he's going to be suspended for 10 games?  As a fan of hockey if I don't think it's a intentional hit.  I sure don't wanna see him miss 10 games.  League knows people feel that way.  So it all comes back to the dollar signs like you said.



Since: Jun 25, 2009
Posted on: October 19, 2011 9:52 am
 

Letang suspended 2 games, Shanahan explains

True.  I just wanted to qulify my later remarks by opening with a statement that I don't think Letang is a dirty player, nor was his intent to injure  on this play.
I agree.  I don't think Letang is a dirty player at all.  Either way, I don't believe he had any intent of hurting anybody in that game.

Somehow, I doubt it.  The NHL loves to talk tough about enforcement of the rules, even those regarding player safety.  Then the season goes on, and magically the refs and front office stop enforcing those rules.  I hope the trend gets reversed this time, since concussions have more serious consequences than obstruction calls or interference in front of the net.
You might be right, but for once I'm going to be an optimist and pray the NHL changes the way they do business this year.  With the national attention concussions are getting these days and with a pending lawsuit by retirees in the NFL for injuries they suffered years ago, I'd like to think the NHL as an organization is smarter then that.  Maybe they're not, but either way we'll know soon.

The NFL's crackdown on helmet-to-helmet contact on a "defenseless" receiver.  It's a 15-yard personal foul penalty and an automatic fine, regardless of context, the players involved, and even if someone was injured (or not). 

Yes. The NFL is closer to doing what you're asking the NHL to do then any other league out there.  The problem is even the NFL doesn't really have everything etched in stone.  Their fines aren't that consistent and fans are complaining all of the time, but that being said i have to admit at least they're on their way to getting the job done where the NHL has barely gotten started.

If you listen to Shanahan's statement, he claims at one point, the league took action because Letang is a "repeat offender" from some incident years ago.  How many prior incidents does it take to elevate a suspension from 2 games to 10 ?  

That is one thing that confused me, how could he be considered a repeat offender yet only be suspended for 2 games?  Now that is one thing the NHL can very easily establish in writing, in stone actually.  Establish what a repeat offender is, put it in the CBA and boom, it's done.  With that must come a minimum number of games for a suspension, not 2 games.  But I guess this does back an earlier point you made about how wishy washy the NHL is when it comes to these things and this is where I get lost a little.  The NHL could EASILY say a repeat offender for a dangerous hit, intentionally or not must serve a minimum of let's say 10 games.  They could say a 5 year history is looked at and an offence doesn't fall off the player's record for 5 years.  It could be really that simple....

BUT.... money plays a big part in this.  Last season when the Detroit Redwings were on the road, arenas were filled at a 99.9 percent capacity for number 1 in the NHL.   In Detroit their home arena was filled at a 98 percent capacity, in the state of Michigan the bad economy has absolutely destroyed and with more people out of work then almost ever before.  The question you have to ask yourself is what happens if Datsyuk ever makes a mistake?  Does the league want it in writing that a second offence is an automatic 10 games? A 3rd offence an automatic 40 games?  Would fans in small market cities sell out when the Wings come to town, knowing Datsyuk isn't going to be in the game?   And if the Wings lose a little without Datsyuk, would the Wings not sell less tickets at home? 

Money is evil.....

 



Since: Nov 21, 2006
Posted on: October 19, 2011 6:10 am
 

Letang suspended 2 games, Shanahan explains

First off, I'm a Pens fan.  Second, I'm fine with the suspension.

If you watch Burmistrov from right where the video began.  It's hard to argue he didn't know exactly where Letang was, and turned his back on him.  Personaly I hate when players do that, but fact of matter is that they are told to do that by coaches.  It's not a new thing.  It's been going on for years, and I don't really see any end.

Letang know's this is the way things are working in the NHL now.  Your kinda screwed if you do, and screwed if you don't.  If he wouldn't of skated in so hard, and Burmistrov set's up a goal it's Letang's fault.  You go in playing aggresive.  There is a posibility your going to get suspended. 

Year's ago players knew they had to try, and protect themselves, or they were going to get poped.  These day's players skate with heads down, and turn back's on defenders to draw pps.  Burmistrov put himself into that situation.  If your stupid enough to knowingly put yourself into a bad situation I think you should get poped.  Maybe you will learn something, and not do it again.

Fact of matter is thats not how it works though.  Everyone invovled knows it.  Letang knew it.  Still went skating into that spot full steam ahead knowing that's the way it works, and he deserves the suspenion because of it.



Since: Oct 20, 2008
Posted on: October 19, 2011 3:37 am
 

Letang suspended 2 games, Shanahan explains

wrote:

I only watched Shanahan's video once but I don't remember him saying that he believed Letang's intent was to injure anybody. If I'm wrong I apologize in advance and if I am wrong and if Shanny did say that then 2 games is a joke.
True.  I just wanted to qulify my later remarks by opening with a statement that I don't think Letang is a dirty player, nor was his intent to injure on this play.

I think that's exactly what Letang got suspended for and what many will get suspended for in the future.
Somehow, I doubt it.  The NHL loves to talk tough about enforcement of the rules, even those regarding player safety.  Then the season goes on, and magically the refs and front office stop enforcing those rules.  I hope the trend gets reversed this time, since concussions have more serious consequences than obstruction calls or interference in front of the net.

I know what you're saying and I'm not disagreeing with you because consistency is very important.  That being said I think it's impossible to put together a concrete policy that doesn't require a person's opinion before a decision is made.  Some hits are just a lot worse then others and I think there are way too many variables to put something like that in writing and in stone so nobody can play with it.
It's not impossible.  Exhibit A: The NFL's crackdown on helmet-to-helmet contact on a "defenseless" receiver.  It's a 15-yard personal foul penalty and an automatic fine, regardless of context, the players involved, and even if someone was injured (or not).  If the intent is to rid the sport of such dangerous hits, then decide what the suspendable offense is, and then assign a mandatory number of games players should be suspended.  In this sense, Shanahan is little better than Colin Campbell, where the methodology in deciding how to suspend a player is nebulous at best.
Your last line concerns me but in all sports superstars get favourable or preferential treatment at times, I don't imagine the NHL is going to do things any differently. The big names in sports leagues are the faces of the league for the decade or for however long they play. Everybody else in interchangeable and the league knows it.   I don't think it's right but hey, it is what it is....

It's wrong, but that'll never end.... leagues will always protect star players a lot more then hated or marginal players...
Exactly.  It's a toothless policy, and where there should be an ironclad rule stating the consequences of dangerous hits, there is instead an incredible amount of room for interpretation.  If you listen to Shanahan's statement, he claims at one point, the league took action because Letang is a "repeat offender" from some incident years ago.  How many prior incidents does it take to elevate a suspension from 2 games to 10 ?  Can Pavel Datsyuk lose his cool for the first time ever against Daniel Carcillo and from behind drive him head-first into a stanchion, resulting in paralysis, and only get suspended 2 games?  Apparently so.



Since: Jun 25, 2009
Posted on: October 19, 2011 12:15 am
 

Letang suspended 2 games, Shanahan explains

I know Letang was looking to make the big hit, but I don't believe his intent was to injure .

I only watched Shanahan's video once but I don't remember him saying that he believed Letang's intent was to injure anybody. If I'm wrong I apologize in advance and if I am wrong and if Shanny did say that then 2 games is a joke.

If Shanahan wants to suspend him to make a point that it was reckless to hit a vulnerable player, fine. 

I think that's exactly what Letang got suspended for and what many will get suspended for in the future.

But until the NHL develops a concrete policy on what types of violations result in a given number of games' suspended, it will seem like a ridiculous policy to players, coaches and fans alike.  2 games this time, 5 games another time, maybe nothing, if it's a marquee player (e.g. Alex Ovechkin) making the hit, or a goon (e.g. Matt Cooke) taking it. 

I know what you're saying and I'm not disagreeing with you because consistency is very important.  That being said I think it's impossible to put together a concrete policy that doesn't require a person's opinion before a decision is made.  Some hits are just a lot worse then others and I think there are way too many variables to put something like that in writing and in stone so nobody can play with it. 

Your last line concerns me but in all sports superstars get favourable or preferential treatment at times, I don't imagine the NHL is going to do things any differently. The big names in sports leagues are the faces of the league for the decade or for however long they play. Everybody else in interchangeable and the league knows it.   I don't think it's right but hey, it is what it is.

Look at a few seasons ago for example.  Malkin, in the last minute of a playoff game went after a Detroit player and instigated a fight. He should have missed the next game because according to the rules it was an automatic 1 game suspension. The league investigated for a total of ONE HOUR after the game to announce there would be no suspension. They found a loophole that states they can waive the suspension if the incident wasn't premeditated.  How do they know it wasn't premeditated? They don't.... they said the players weren't involved in an altercation earlier which means Malkin didn't plan to do what he did... my point is they didn't even take a half day to think about it.  There was instant panic, they had no intention of suspending Pittsburgh's best player at that time.  So they didn't....

It's wrong, but that'll never end.... leagues will always protect star players a lot more then hated or marginal players...
 



Since: Oct 20, 2008
Posted on: October 18, 2011 11:28 pm
 

Letang suspended 2 games, Shanahan explains

I know Letang was looking to make the big hit, but I don't believe his intent was to injure .  If Shanahan wants to suspend him to make a point that it was reckless to hit a vulnerable player, fine.  But until the NHL develops a concrete policy on what types of violations result in a given number of games' suspended, it will seem like a ridiculous policy to players, coaches and fans alike.  2 games this time, 5 games another time, maybe nothing, if it's a marquee player (e.g. Alex Ovechkin) making the hit, or a goon (e.g. Matt Cooke) taking it.



Since: Jun 25, 2009
Posted on: October 18, 2011 11:20 pm
 

Letang suspended 2 games, Shanahan explains

Again, revenue does not equal quality. There is such a thing as the integrity of the game.

You sound like a young man when you talk like that but let me tell you something.  In professional sports these days revenue is the only thing that matters.... it's the only thing that matters to the players and it's the only thing that matters to the owners.  The fans? Of course we don't care what the owners or players have in their bank account, but  believe me when I tell you it's money first, everything else second.

Checking is a part of hockey. If a guy is playing the puck, you have the right to check him. Basic.

You're right, you have every right to check a guy that has the puck. BUT... if you don't have a chance to get that puck and you end up hitting him from behind, you're getting suspended....  like it or not, that's how it goes.

I'm fine with suspending for reckless and illegal hits - this one was neither.

You forgot "careless", which this was.  He had ZERO CHANCE at that puck, but he wanted to hit the guy.  The player he hit turned the other way and he hit him from behind.  Automatic trouble in today's NHL....  doesn't have to be reckless or illegal, careless is good enough.  That being said a hit from behind IS illegal... just because you think the guy turned his back intentionally doesn't make you right. 

That's not hockey. At all. End of story.

It sure is hockey... it's TODAY'S hockey.  Listen man, I'm not telling you what to do, if you don't like it then stop watching or following the NHL.  The bottom line is hits from behind aren't tolerated anymore..... end... of.... story.





 


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