When Brendan Shanahan took over as NHL Senior VP of Player Safety and Hockey Operations, many saw him as a white knight. He was the Harvey Dent of the NHL, the man in charge of changing everything that is wrong on the ice. Almost immediately I had an issue with naming a guy like Shanahan to such a position. Many applauded his career, his highlights and the awards in his trophy case but he wasn’t the cleanest player in the NHL. I remember the days where Detroit would play Colorado and Shanahan was clotheslining people. He would routinely fight. Shit, he even mocked fans while in the penalty box.
Did that bitch deserve it? Probably. That’s not to say it’s right. If that happened in the NHL these days, the player would probably get fined a certain amount of money and/or based on reputation (or if he played on Boston) suspended a game. When Shanahan took over, he immediately set the record straight and suspended anything in the pre-season that could have been considered a dirty hit (or even a questionable hit). When the regular season started, did Shanahan continue this iron fist style of ruling? Not even close.
I’m certain there are a ton of things that I have missed when writing this post, but I am going to look back at the last two weeks or so, starting with the Brad Marchand hit on Sami Salo.
On January 7, 2011 Brad Marchand executed a low-bridge hit on Sami Salo that many in the NHL considered dirty. Once the hit happened, people of all fan bases started foaming at the mouth, saying how dirty Brad Marchand is as a player. Let’s look at Marchand’s prior suspension history:
- March 2011: Suspended 2 games for an elbow to the head of RJ Umburger.
That’s it. He’s been suspended once. How about fines? Well, we can go down that route too:
- December 12, 2011: Fined $2,500 for a slewfoot on Matt Niskanen.
That’s him complete “criminal” background in the NHL. Yes, I realize I’m omitting things from the Stanley Cup Finals but that’s because there was no fine nor suspension. So Marchand pulls off this low-bridge hit on Salo and suddenly gets 5 games for it? I realize that it’s a hit the NHL wants out of the game, but 5 games is steep for someone who doesn’t have a dirty reputation (in the league’s eyes, in the eyes of fans he’s the dirtiest player on the ice).
Don’t worry though, it gets much better!...
Crime: Boarding Ryan McDonagh
Punishment: 3 game suspension
Here is the video of Ference boarding him:
Legit boarding call that deserves a suspension. I tweeted it the moment I saw it.
@Maluhaka I’m not. Deserves the 5 minute and the one/two game suspension he’ll get.
— PezDOY (@PezDOY) January 21, 2012
Now lets go through his previous suspension history:
Well there you go, he’s never been suspended. How about being fined?
- April 22, 2011: Fined $2,500 for giving the Bell Centre the middle finger.
So a guy with no previous history gets a 3 game suspension? Interesting. Let’s look at Shanahan’s old teammate Henrik Zetterberg.
Crime: Boarding Nikita Nikitin
Here’s the video folks:
Before I go into my tirade, lets look at Zetterberg’s past history.
Zetterberg is as clean as they come. Actually, the aforementioned hit was his first major penalty of his career, but why should that play into account? It can be said that Zetterberg’s hit was on par or worse than Ference’s hit because Nitikin will miss a couple of games. Ryan McDonagh, the victim in the Ference hit, is practicing and is expected to miss zero games.
So why is it that one player who doesn’t have a bad reputation get suspended when another player who has the same type of reputation doesn’t even get a phone call? Mind you, these two hits happened on the same day as one another, January 21, 2012.
Lastly, lets look at Tom Sestito of the Philadelphia Flyers.
Crime: Head shot on Nathan Horton
Ok, well lets look at his prior history:
- September 26, 2011: Suspended 4 games (2 preseason, 2 regular season) for boarding someone on the Rangers.
- Sestito was also fined for the hit on 9/26/11.
So here’s my question. Sestito is now considered a “repeat offender” if he does something wrong. Shanahan has come out and said that Sestito’s hit was legal, but how is that possible? I’m not trying to play the injury blame game, but Horton suffers a concussion on a hit where he was “hit on the shoulder”?
Here is Shanahan’s tweet on the subject:
Sestito/Horton: Hit was .6 seconds after puck released. Hit makes principal point of contact to left shoulder. Not the head. No SD.
— Brendan Shanahan (@NHLShanahan) January 25, 2012
Here’s the most amazing this about this whole thing (stick tap to SixteenWins for keeping this going):
- Andrew Ference is the only non-repeat offender on this list (Ovechkin has been suspended for knee-to-knee hits).
- Ference is the only non-head shot on this list.
- Ference’s number of games suspended is greater than or equal to these head-shotting, repeat offenders.
- Two repeat offenders, guilty of a headshot, got less games than someone who has never been suspended.
White knight of the NHL? Hardly. More like Colin Campbell v2.0