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Blog Entry

Shanahan on suspensions and non-suspensions

Posted on: November 3, 2011 3:52 pm
Edited on: November 3, 2011 3:56 pm
 
By: Adam Gretz

When Brendan Shanahan handed out nine suspensions during the preseason the biggest question on our minds was whether or not that torrid pace would continue in the regular season, or if that was simply the message sending and adjustment phase.

A month into the regular season and, as of Thursday morning, Shanahan has issued just four suspensions that have totaled 11 games, while also issuing just two fines. For a comparison, on the same date last season under former NHL disciplinary czar Colin Campbell, the NHL had issued seven suspensions during the regular season that totaled 17 games, along with six fines.

After four suspensions for an illegal hit to the head during a one-week stretch in the preseason, we didn't see our first suspension for a similar play until this week when Edmonton's Andy Sutton received a five-game banishment for his hit to the head of Colorado Avalanche rookie Gabriel Landeskog. Are the players getting the message that was sent out during the preseason and starting to figure out what they are and aren't allowed to do? Or has Shanahan simply softened on what's worthy of a suspension? I think it's a combination of the two, and according to players like Nashville's Mike Fisher, who was on the receiving end of a questionable hit this past week, there is still some confusion from the players perspective.

I do think, simply based on nothing other than my own observations, that we have probably seen a bit of decrease in the number of blatant hits to the head. Whether or not that's because of the run of suspensions during the preseason, combined with the steady stream of video's breaking down each punishment, as well as the videos sent to each team demonstrating legal and illegal hits, is certainly up for debate. There just doesn't seem to be quite as many questionable hits as there were in recent seasons that have left us asking, "is this guy going to get suspended?"

But while they don't seem to be as frequent, they do still exist. Over the past week, for example, there have been a couple that drew some attention that resulted in no punishment from the league, including a play that involved Fisher getting hit by Francois Beauchemin, as well as Rangers forward Wojtek Wolski and his hit on Senators forward Daniel Alfredsson.

Shanahan appeared on NHL Live on Wednesday afternoon and addressed them.

"The first thing players want to know is what can't I do," said Shanahan. "And then the next, maybe just as important question is what can I do. And so we worked really hard in the offseason, players wanted us to get rid of illegal head shots, general managers wanted us to get rid of illegal head shots and I think the fans do to. And I think it's going to trickle down into minor hockey as well, so we talked a lot about this and we worked with the NHLPA, and players contributed to this, we talked about making a full body check."

At that point Shanahan went into a full description of why there was no discipline for Beauchemin:
"We felt that Beauchemin worked hard, right here he's blowing snow, he actually gets in front of Fisher, and he's blowing snow and digging in and he's hitting him in the chest, shoulder and unfortunately there is some incidental contact to the head, but we feel that's a full body check. We've asked the players to do hat, Beauchemin worked really hard to get in front of Fisher, maybe a year ago he doesn't and he hits him from the blindside. Even though he approached from the blindside he didn't deliver the hit, you saw the snow blowing, he got in front of him, stopped, dug in, kept his elbow down, kept his feet on the ice and delivered a hard hit."
And then on the on the Wolski/Alfredsson hit:
"Wolski's not a dirty player, and has no history of being a dirty player. There are collisions that occur on the ice where, unfortunately, one player sees it just prior. On this play here, Wolski has got to get out to his point. You see here, Gaborik, the left winger, has to come all the way to Wolski's point on the right side because Wolski's not there. He ran into Alfredsson trying to get there."

"We've seen enough of these now, and I don't like these, but we've seen enough of them where when one player sees the hit just prior, he tenses up. And sometimes he even leans in because he's bracing for an impact. When both guys see it, it's two guys tensing up and they bounce off each other and everybody's fine. It's really unfortunate here, when one player doesn't see it and the other guy does."

"Now, if I felt this was intentional, or if it wasn't at the last instant, just prior. If I might have felt there was any kind of sneakiness or history of these types of offenses for Wolski, he would have been suspended."
Shanahan's emphasis on prior history, and whether or not a player has a reputation for being a dirty player or a track record of illegal hits has sparked some discussion as well as the concern that there is still way too much inconsistency when it comes to player discipline. Should it really matter if a player has or has not been guilty of an illegal hit in the past when he does eventually commit one? Of course not. An illegal play is an illegal play whether or not it's delivered by Wojtek Wolski, a player with no prior history, or Daniel Carcillo, a player with a lengthy history. Not suspending a player like Wolski because he's never done it before almost seems as if it's giving players one free pass before they get punished.

It's either legal or it's not.

Photo: Getty Images

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Comments

Since: Sep 7, 2011
Posted on: November 5, 2011 9:34 pm
 

Shanahan on suspensions and non-suspensions

Shanahan is the only Red Wing I never liked !!!!!



Since: Nov 28, 2008
Posted on: November 5, 2011 6:19 pm
 

Shanahan on suspensions and non-suspensions

Did Shanahan ever get suspended?



Since: Apr 21, 2010
Posted on: November 5, 2011 3:15 am
 

Shanahan on suspensions and non-suspensions

Misterfamous, you are exactly right!!! The league has turned into a joke, starting from Bettman to this robotic talker Shanahan. The hit on Alfredsson (which he was coming from behind) was of course done on purpose. There is no-way that (reading some of these blogs) Alfredsson was skating next to Wolski and Wolski was braceing himself for a collison. This league has turned into a joke and boring. What Bettman ( who looks like a weasel) Colin Campbell and Shanahan should do is resign from there posts. It's so sad that Shanahan looks like a puppet, and it seems when he talks about these infractions they are making him say this as if it was already was written for him.



Since: Feb 16, 2007
Posted on: November 5, 2011 12:31 am
 

Shanahan on suspensions and non-suspensions

Shanahan's emphasis on prior history, and whether or not a player has a reputation for being a dirty player or a track record of illegal hits  the concern that there is still way too much inconsistency when it comes to player discipline. Should it really matter if a player has or has not been guilty of an illegal hit in the past when he does eventually commit one? 


You missed Shannahans point all together...you need to read his quotes before you talk about inconsistency. 

Shanahan clearly explains that:

"We've seen enough of these now, and I don't like these, but we've seen enough of them where when one player sees the hit just prior, he tenses up. And sometimes he even leans in because he's bracing for an impact. When both guys see it, it's two guys tensing up and they bounce off each other and everybody's fine. It's really unfortunate here, when one player doesn't see it and the other guy does."


Two guys playing hockey ran into each other. Thats what he says and thats his explanation. NOW if it was a Matt Cooke or Dan Carcillo Shanahan would take a closer look because these guys are repeat offenders and there could have been intent there. 

No where does he say "If it was Matt Cooke delivering the hit he would have been suspended but since it was Wolski and he has no record we let him go"...

Shanahan is doing a great job. He reviews all the questionable calls the same weather its a repeat offender or not. Its determining weather or not its intentional or not that is the hardest part, and thats why he mentions "repeat offenders". If a guy keeps popping up in replays that are questionable then he has to take a closer look and ask why? what is this guy continuing to do?

My best example would be the hit on Crosby in the winter classic...two guys skating and Crosby turns while looking back and the Capital player is skating out while Crosby turns into him. This stuff happens and its not a penalty or suspendable offence.

I think Shanahan is doing a great job so far.  


lookbing
Since: Nov 4, 2011
Posted on: November 4, 2011 1:19 pm
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Since: Oct 20, 2008
Posted on: November 4, 2011 11:24 am
 

Shanahan on suspensions and non-suspensions

This is what happens when the NHL is marketed on the backs of individual players.  When a guy like Matt Cooke makes a nasty hit up high, instant suspension, but a guy like Patrick Kane will get away with a fine or stiff warning.

Shanahan looks every bit like the idiot Colin Campbell was, when he talks about "history of dangerous hits" or "follow-through after the puck was played".  The rule book is there.  If you really want to change the game and eliminate dangerous hits and the resulting injuries, then make it automatic what the punishment is.  There'd be ability to make a distinction whether it was Jaromir Jagr or Daniel Carcillo who throws a dangerous elbow, or if the victim gets horribly injured.  The NHL needs to step away from this insane idea that it has this subjectivity available, and just codify the damn policy in the rulebook.  Otherwise, fans will continue to scratch their heads in bewilderment, and critics will continue to point out what a hypocrital pile of poo the League front office seems to have become.



Since: Nov 28, 2008
Posted on: November 4, 2011 8:41 am
 

Shanahan on suspensions and non-suspensions

Soon we gonna be playing All-Star game type hockey with no hits what so ever and the first team in 10 wins



Since: Oct 25, 2007
Posted on: November 4, 2011 12:32 am
 

Shanahan on suspensions and non-suspensions

I think Shanny is doing a better job than that joker Campbell, but he isn't perfect either. 

That being said, his openness to explain decisions unlike previous regimes is a double edged sword. It helps people swallow those suspensions a bit easier understanding the reasoning behind it, but it also comes to bite Shanny in the butt when there is no decision made. The widespread openness leads to more criticism of the expressed opinion where in the past it was a cloudy mystery. Rough situation. 


Pensfan007
Since: Nov 2, 2011
Posted on: November 3, 2011 10:43 pm
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LEAFSOWNHens
Since: Nov 3, 2011
Posted on: November 3, 2011 10:32 pm
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