NHL’s Shanahan Fails Yet Again

Brendan Shanahan, NHL senior vice president of player safety, has once again proved that if he is not flipping a coin to decide whether to discipline players, he must be trying to confuse the players and fans. His rulings – and non-rulings – have been so wildly inconsistent as to beggar the imagination. If he was purposely attempting to make people believe that he was ruling randomly, he could not do a better job.

The man does not mete out justice fairly. He is so scattershot in his rulings, that there is no way players or clubs could possibly anticipate what he is going to do next. The one thing – the one thing – an authority figure should be is consistent. Even if he Shanahan is unfair, he should be unfair to everyone. Parents need to present a united front in order to instill discipline in a child. If Dad decides one day that the penalty for sneaking a cookie before dinner is no TV before bed, and the next day there’s no punishment, and the day after that the kid is grounded for six months –what’s the penalty for sneaking a cookie? Who knows? Ask Brendan Shanahan.

The latest incontrovertible, iron-clad proof of Shanahan’s inconsistency is the NHL’s failure to even schedule a hearing to look into Ottawa Senators Chris Neil’s high hit on the New York Rangers’ Brian Boyle, which forced Boyle out of the game and left him with a concussion.

It appears the hair-splitting that Shanahan is using this time is to rule that while Boyle’s head was the initial point of contact, the rest of Neil’s hit was against his body, making the “principle” contact Boyle’s body, not his head. This ludicrous non-distinction flies in the face of Shanahan’s own policy of punishing players who “target the head.”

So, what constitutes “targeting” the head if not hitting the head first? Can I initially slam into, say, somebody’s hip and yet still “target” his head? The other insane corollary to this new argument is that players he previously disciplined must have “principally” the victim’s head, and not his body. So only hits that contact the head count? Since when? From today forward? Or until the next loopy comment from Shanahan?

Sure, Shanahan has a very difficult job, but to suggest that he’s in a no-win situation and should therefore be allowed to continue along is foolish. I don’t hear much dissent regarding his decision to suspend Phoenix’s Raffi Torres for 25 games for an egregious hit. When Shanahan makes the correct call, people applaud it. So, when he screws up, he needs to be called on it. Is his job too tough? Then quit!

Now, it’s easy to dismiss this criticism as sour grapes by a disgruntled Rangers fan (which I am), but you would be wrong. I am absolutely 1,000 percent correct when I say Shanahan is inconsistent with his “justice.” I’m not saying he has to rule this way or that way on any particular case; just be fair and consistent. Make the same ruling every time, not randomly.

Of course, to be fair, there is one sense in which Shanahan has been consistent (aside from being reliably inconsistent): His playoff rulings have punished teams he used to play for. The New York Rangers and the Detroit Red Wings have come out on the short end of Shanahan rulings – and this is twice now for the Rangers in just five games! This is a matter of record; an inarguable fact. There is no interpretation needed. Now, the question is, Is Shanahan going out of his way to punish his former teams in order to “prove” that he isn’t “favoring” them? I can’t say that, but if I played for the New Jersey Devils, I would brace myself for Game 6.

There is one other possible explanation: Shanahan is very bad at his job. As in, “this guy needs to be fired” bad. If I performed my job as poorly as Shanahan does, I would certainly be fired. Or I’d be a weatherman.

One thought on “NHL’s Shanahan Fails Yet Again

  1. Ottawa’s Chris Neal check meets same set of actions got another player 25 game suspension. I have always liked Shanahan, the prior individual in charge of handing out suspensions, Colin Campbell was old school & was totally incompetent, I was so HAPPY Shanahan took over. However, Chris Neal is 1) a repeat SUPER offender (please ref. physical chargeable in court intentional destroying of Chris Drury? That check was Todd Bertuzi level hit and should of been taken into the Court System for assault. 2) He intentionally targeted the head with “intent to injure” I am flabbergasted by Shanahan, he had such an un-emotional factual approach to evaluating and handing out suspensions.
    His Judgments as to what is to be reviewed vs. what is not, is suspect as if he is getting paid off(kidding) but the guy seems to be on the take as I am trying to explain to myself the infinite level of “BLINDNESS and total POOR JUDGEMENT”
    I vote keep the system in place he has setup, Shanahan played in NHL too many years apparently and is bias or has a mental illness. I agree 500% he should be fired. Campbells disappearance was a start, Shanahan has made progress, but we are only 1/2 way there.
    We need a non biased person in there to perform the job. I think that there should be a rule that the person that handed out the intent to end a person’s career or forever change it as a player is forever scared to take another hit or will disappear like Lindros did SHOULD BE OUT as long as the player he tried to destroy the career of by intent to severely injure a player/ruin his career. If a player intentionally hands out a hit to head that puts a player out for an entire season? He should not be allowed to return to the ice until the player he hurt is able to return & if the player had a history of intentionally being given these checks by other players, the Neal’s need to be especially careful not to hurt that player as I believe if he finalizes a person’s career, his should be over also.
    I saw Hal Gill when on Bruins when play was dead, glide by Eric Lindros and for no reason whatsoever handed out a class 2 concussion to Eric Lindros with an elbow to the face.
    That was severe as it was the next concussion he got after his initial problem, I don’t think there was a penalty, review and or a suspension under Campbell. THAT IS ROLLER DERBY EVERYONE!!!! A player in retaliation should of gone up to Hal Gill and pretended he was in golf season and sent Gill THERE with a 2 handed swing as hard as he possibly was physically capable of hitting Gill with and broke his stick with a direct blow to his forehead when play was dead and he was a perfect target and make sure he doesn’t see it coming and stick will hopefully bust in half and he should of had his career ended with that strike………THAT IS JUSTICE.
    So JUSTICE IS ANY head check like Neal’s does not get “25 games/5 games/8 games” etc, he cannot play until the player he intentionally struck is able to return and if he never can? Neal has to retire also, THAT WOULD PUT AN END TO THIS Roller Derby sport Hockey has become……..I was born in Canada and played since age 4 and am in my 50’s and this crap never used to happen……it started about 5 years ago and quickly went FULL ROLLER DERBY…………..


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