|Shea Weber smashes Henrik Zetterberg's face into|
the glass twice
Brenden Shanahan is in charge of administering discipline to NHL players whose actions are not within the rules of the NHL and thus warrant punishment. The punishment is usually a fine, suspension or both.
Let us look at his role administering suspensions and fines thus far in the playoffs. Things started off really bumpy when Shanahan chose only to give Shea Weber a $2500 fine for his attack on Henrik Zetterberg in game one. Weber took Zetterberg by the back of his head and smashed his face into the glass twice. Since that decision, it seems Shanahan is determined to punish every player regardless of whether they are a superstar or not, which is something that should have been done from the start, but now leaves a void of confusion from player to player as to what will get you suspended and what will not.
Much like watching a game where a ref misses a call and the remainder of the game is a series of make-up-calls, Shanahan has made it very unclear as to what is acceptable and what isn't. Since the Weber incident he has chosen to suspend over half a dozen players for varying amounts of games. The message Shanahan is sending is that it isn't okay to hurt someone with a play within the rules, yet its all fair when you physically assault them without any attempt at making a hockey play.
Enough is enough already with NHL suspensions. Much like how diving seems to get worse every season because referees neglect to make the call, the lack of suspensions in the NHL will lead to worse plays on the ice. Even when suspensions are administered, they are usually only for a game or two. Being suspended for a couple of games in an 82 game season isn't much of a punishment. Players will not stop head hunting because of a three game suspension. The league needs to start throwing around more 10 and 20 game suspensions like they did to Raffe Torres. More long-term suspensions without pay may actually make a difference.
Sadly, I bet of Marian Hossa wasn't carried away in an ambulance, Torres would have only gotten a one game suspension. Maybe even more sad is that Torres made somewhat of a hockey play whereas Weber simply assaulted Zetterberg. I must say that if I were Torres, I'd be pretty unhappy when comparing both instances and both punishments. You know things are unclear when players, such as Jonathan Toews, who were not involved in any way with the suspensions, and lack of suspensions, are saying that something isn't right.
Its about time Shanahan, and the league officials get together to find a solution that works. Harsher punishment to everyone, and not just Torres, may make a difference... I just don't see that happening in the near future. Until someone gets seriously injured, nothing will change. Things will remain the same because the NHL is more about reaction than prevention.
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