Tuesday, 27 September 2016

The First Call To Player Safety

There were concerns when Montreal acquired Andrew Shaw in that they were acquiring a player who had the potential to be reckless on the ice. Shaw, to his credit, said all the right things following the trade that brought him to La Belle Province, but his play tonight in a preseason game against the Washington Capitals was anything but "belle". Andrew Shaw will be the first player to stand in front of the Department of Player Safety this 2016-17 season after he decided to paste a vulnerable Connor Hobbs along the boards.

There's no denying that Montreal wanted a scrappy player to bolster their skilled forward group, and Shaw was to deliver that tenacity and grit that was so evidently missing last season. Shaw also has a bit of a scoring touch, so Montreal did well in acquiring the scrappy power forward who should make them a little more sandpaper compared to the tissue paper they were last season.

Unfortunately, this doesn't help.
The NHL has been preaching it for a long time. The officials have been calling it since the rule was instituted. The players have been reminded over and over again about it. What is "it"? If you see a player's name and number clearly as you drive that player into the boards, you're going to be ejected for boarding. It's a blatant hit from behind, and Andrew Shaw knows this.

It was a relief to see Hobbs return to the game a few minutes after being taken off the ice to the dressing room area, but Shaw has to know better. My guess is that Shaw will be fined and possibly suspended for his indiscretion, but I can't see him getting any more than a game at the most. It should be a wake-up call for the veteran player that he needs to play on the edge, but avoid stepping over it. Especially in a preseason game where he's guaranteed a roster spot and the Canadiens are up 4-1 at the time.

Simply unnecessary and stupid.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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