Thursday, 29 September 2011

Lazy Thursday

Like the bear to the left, today is a lazy Thursday for me. There have been a pile of stories that have been expanded upon lately, from the Simmonds-Avery homophobic slur to the guy arrested for tossing the banana at Simmonds, but I'm not here for any of that garbage. Honestly, things are said in the heat of battle all the time, and the first person to cry wolf is Sean Avery? That, readers, is the definition of irony considering some of the pithy remarks that Sean Avery has made in his career towards others. Instead, today I want to focus on the job being done by Mr. Brendan Shanahan. It may not shock you to know that I'm entirely supportive of the time-off handed out by Mr. Shanahan this far.

We'll work backwards chronologically here. That means we get Tom Sestito of the Philadelphia Flyers first for his hit from behind on the Rangers' Andre Deveaux. Sestito will skip the rest of the preseason and the first two games for his dangerous check, and will donate $5,945.94 to the NHLPA Players' Fund.

Decision: Good. Hits from behind are dangerous and illegal.
Total Monies Donated: $5,945.94

Anaheim's Jean-Fran├žois Jacques left the bench on a line change and bee-lined towards Vancouver's Mike Duco where the gloves came off. Being that this happened in the last five minutes of the Anaheim-Vancouver preseason tilt, there was a guaranteed one-game suspension. But because he did nothing but head straight for and pummel Duco, Shanahan tacked on an additional four games. Jacques will donate $17,567.55 for his indiscretion.

Decision: Good. As much as I like fighting, this was premeditated from the bench. Duco had been a pest all night, but Jacques' actions cannot be condoned.
Total Monies Donated: $23,513.49

Columbus' James Wisniewski will be donating a pile of money from his monster contract. Wisniewski's suspension was handed down after he threw a dangerous and unnecessary check to the head of Minnesota's Cal Clutterbuck after the horn had sounded. Citing his past indiscretions, Shanahan dismissed Wisniewski for the rest of the preseason and eight regular-season games. Wisniewski cut a cheque for $536,585.36 for the Players' Fund.

Decision: Good. Vigilante justice may have worked in the past, but even the rich will pay for breaking the rules. The worst part is that Wisniewski could have easily avoided this suspension by simply being smart. Instead, he gets a long time to think about this one.
Total Monies Donated: $560,098.85

From the same game, Minnesota's Brad Staubitz will sit out for the rest of the preseason and three regular-season games after he threw a hit from behind on Columbus' Cody Bass. Staubitz handed over $9,324.33 for his check.

Decision: Good. Like the Sestito hit, these kinds of check have to be stopped before someone gets seriously hurt.
Total Monies Donated: $569,423.18

Buffalo's Brad Boyes threw a high check on Toronto's Joe Colborne, catching his head. Checks to the head are a no-no this season, and Shanahan gave Boyes a couple of preseason games to think about it. Because there were no regular season games involved, Boyes forfeits no money.

Decision: Push. If the NHL wants to reduce the number of concussions, Shanahan is leading the way with these types of decisions. I commend him for bringing the NHL out of the stone age when it comes to head checks, but I think there should be more punishment for hits to a player's dome.
Total Monies Donated: $569,423.18

Philadelphia's Jody Shelley hammered Toronto's Darryl Boyce from behind, causing Boyce's face to slam into the boards. Boyce ended up dazed with a broken nose while Shelley fought Jay Rosehill. Citing his past infractions, Shanahan nailed Shelley as a repeat offender and ended his preseason. He also will sit for five regular season games, costing Shelley $67,073.15.

Decision: Good. Shelley shouldn't be surprised by this. Boyce's numbers were clearly facing Shelley when he hammered Boyce into the endboards. Again, Shanahan deserves some kudos here. If Shelley hit Boyce hard enough to break his nose, there was no let-up.
Total Monies Donated: $636,496.33

Calgary's Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond delivered a hit from behind on Vancouver's Matt Clackson. I'm not sure if the players were aware what a hit from behind was before this suspension - Shanahan's first suspension - but they got a good idea what a check from behind looks like. Letourneau-Leblond gave up his entire preseason and will sit for the season opening game. He also donated $6,402.44.

Decision: Good. Like the other two hits from behind on the list, these have to stop. Players cannot prepare for a hit from behind because they can't see it coming.
Total Monies Donated: $642,898.77

Over a half million dollars is already in the coffers of the NHLPA's Emergency Fund, so if there's a lockout or strike, the players can thank Brendan Shanahan for helping them out. In all seriousness though, I think Shanahan is sending a message to all the players that safety is not going to brushed aside for some entertainment. If the players are hurt, they can't entertain, so I think Shanahan is doing the right thing for all parties involved.

The only question will be how harsh the punishment will be when a player such as Ovechkin, Pronger, or Lucic throws a hit that catches a guy high. If Shanahan continues to hand out hard time for these indiscretions, he might have a few owners who want him reeled in.

Is that better for the game?

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!


Peter Santellan said...

The thing to keep in mind here is that Ovechkin and Pronger(I think, but I'm not sure if he had been) have already been supsended at some point prior to Shanahan taking over. It would be a folly for Shanahan to not offer harsher punishment for either, since they had been punished before.

And some side irony, the CAPTCHA I had to type in was "fight."

Sage Confucius said...

If Shanahan suspends Pronger for every elbow he throws at someone's head he'll not play beyond the first game. For star players I think Ovie is the one who needs to be careful. He is somewhat reckless when delivering hits and is bound to have problems if he loses focus at all. It will be interesting to see what happens if he does.