- Jody Shelley, another repeat offender, made what appears to be a more vicious hit in the preseason and only received a suspension of five regular season games. What makes the Wiz hit that much worse - that Wiz has to sit for eight regular season games? Is it strictly because of the date on which the hit was delivered? (Shelley - by virtue of making his hit earlier in the preseason, burned more preseason games.) If that's the case, how can anyone logically explain that missing a preseason game is equivalent to missing a regular season game? (Blue Jackets ticket office, you're not allowed to answer that last question.)
- In the above video, Shanahan said: "Earlier on this shift, Clutterbuck threw a check on Wisniewski's defensive partner. Wisniewski engaged in defense of his own teammate by knocking Clutterbuck down to the ice. While that may have led Wisniewski to believe he had to defend himself, that was not a justification for intentionally hitting a player in the head. If Wisniewski feels threatened, he must choose a different way to defend himself." What, pray tell, would an acceptable "different way" be? Putting the appropriateness of inserting that final sentence aside, it is wise to force players to grope in the dark for allowable ways to defend themselves? Why not use the video as a teaching moment (which Shanahan clearly is doing, just not to its fullest extent) and point out allowable options?
- (Thanks to Puck Daddy for pointing this one out) Why did Shanahan totally avoid the question raised by Wiz, that of Clutterbuck's alleged embellishment? Why not say, "Wisniewski suggests Clutterbuck dove; I disagree"? Does this not encourage diving and other forms of embellishment? Think about it: Do we really want the National Hockey League to become a bunch of Vancouver Canucks?
|Brendan Shanahan, NHL Senior Vice President|
of Player Safety and Hockey Operations
The NHL is letting Shanahan leverage his former star power and current popularity - along with flashy video graphics - to imply a heightened sense of legitimacy in its disciplinary decisions. And the videos ARE helpful and educational (if not entirely complete in the education offered) to average fans like yours truly.
With the Wisniewski suspension, however, Shanahan has quickly shown a lack of regard for precedence, a deaf ear toward player assertions made when defending their actions and an inability to use his bully pulpit and fancy technology to suggest what IS allowable even when implying that an alternate expression of behavior would have been tolerated. As such, I assert that there is a very compelling argument to be made that the Wisniewski suspension and its supporting explanation was flawed. This is troubling.
Shanahan seems bright enough to do a reasonably good job as NHL discipline czar, but he is not infallible. I hope he learns the lessons that can be drawn from his first couple weeks on the job - many of which can come from the questions raised by his handling of the James Wisniewski hit on Cal Clutterbuck.