Sep 28, 2011, 2:45 PM EDT
While they rank as chemistry building opportunities and chances to assess prospects, NHL preseason games are rarely considered “precedent-setting.” That’s especially true when it comes to suspending and fining players, but new head of discipline Brendan Shanahan is doing just that during a busy 2011 preseason.
So far, the most important punishment went to newly acquired Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman James Wisniewski. The expensive blueliner delivered an illegal hit to the head of Minnesota Wild winger Cal Clutterbuck after time expired in an exhibition game, prompting Shanahan to suspend Wisniewski for the rest of the preseason schedule as well as a stunning eight regular season games. That infraction will set Wisniewski back more than $500K.
Wisniewski is far from the only example being made, though, so it seems like a reasonable time to take the temperature of players and coaches from around the league. Here are a few reactions to the new regime (though this is far from comprehensive).
San Jose Sharks center Joe Thornton approves of the system’s clarity and Shanahan’s no-nonsense attitude.
“It’s good to see where he’s coming from and talk about why he’s suspending guys for so long,” Thornton said after Tuesday’s two-hour practice. “Players really appreciate that, and it’s now black and white.”
“Now I think it’s clearer than it was in the past,” Thornton said, adding that the severity of the penalties also shows “he’s not screwing around and he means business.”
Vancouver Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault is “cautiously optimistic” about Shanahan’s new approach, although he emphasized that he doesn’t want hitting taken out of the game.
“Personally, I don’t want us taking hitting out the game, but I do want us taking headshots out of the game,” said Vigneault. “But sometimes, things happen on the ice, and players walk a fine line — you want them to be assertive, you want them to be aggressive. Hockey is a violent sport, a contact sport. But it’s caught my attention for sure, and I’m sure its caught a lot of guys’ attention.
“There’s certain hits they want out. Is that going to have an effect on the way the game is played for a while? I think it will.”
The Buffalo Sabres are OK with the suspension that Brad Boyes received, but the team is confused regarding a lack of punishment for Colby Armstrong’s hit on Paul Gaustad. (Click here to see video of the hit in question.)
“From the video they showed us, they have different explanations for different hits,” added winger Jason Pominville, himself a victim of a concussion-inducing hit from behind last season by Chicago’s Niklas Hjalmarsson. “I’m not even sure if I know the rules perfectly. It’s kind of fresh to us. I still think it was a hit from behind and those are the kind of things you want to take away.”
Martin Brodeur wonders if his former teammate’s new system might become “chaotic.” He also asked if the NHL will follow its hard-hitting precedents when stars are guilty of questionable plays in big games, rolling out the example of Brett Hull’s foot in the crease.
“We were talking about how they emphasized the ‘foot in the crease’ rule, and when the most important call came, when the Stanley Cup depended on it, they didn’t make it,” Brodeur said.
“So what happens in the Stanley Cup final, if it’s [a superstar], looking like a playoff MVP, and he turns and someone else is turning, too, and he hits him on the head? Will they suspend him, and for how long, and should the Stanley Cup depend on that?
“Mostly, it’s the same sort of player doing it now, but what about during the season or playoffs, what if teams lose their best player because of [precedent]?”
Obviously, players and coaches have mixed feelings about the new sheriff in town, but it all comes down to Shanahan sticking to his guns when it isn’t a lesser player and/or a lower-profile situation.
Oct 1, 2014, 9:55 AM EDT
One of them was rusty.
Oct 1, 2014, 9:03 AM EDT
He was a restricted free agent, but was still taking part in training camp.
Oct 1, 2014, 9:00 AM EDT
No, this post doesn’t just include the word “everything.”
Oct 1, 2014, 7:55 AM EDT
Wednesday’s collection of links.
Oct 1, 2014, 12:00 AM EDT
Apparently they won’t hand him Cody Eakin’s two-year, $3.8 million deal.
Sep 30, 2014, 11:31 PM EDT
Here are some assorted goals for entertainment purposes.
Sep 30, 2014, 10:23 PM EDT
He’s reportedly asking for a hefty six or seven-year deal.
Sep 30, 2014, 9:25 PM EDT
Updated with GM Craig MacTavish’s comments.
Sep 30, 2014, 9:10 PM EDT
Buffalo was fearing a broken jaw, which would be even worse.
Sep 30, 2014, 7:27 PM EDT
It looks like the transition from Charles Wang’s ownership will ramp up soon.
Sep 30, 2014, 7:13 PM EDT
What a difference injuries and a nearing regular season makes …
Sep 30, 2014, 6:40 PM EDT
He says the “progress has been really good.”
Sep 30, 2014, 5:28 PM EDT
Will this be another season to forget for Toronto?
Sep 30, 2014, 4:26 PM EDT
Called him “the best defenseman on the ice.”
Sep 30, 2014, 4:12 PM EDT
Buffalo trims training camp roster to 30.
Sep 30, 2014, 4:00 PM EDT
“We’ve got three games left here, so we really need to finalize what we’re going to do.”
Sep 30, 2014, 3:50 PM EDT
Both off to AHL Texas.
Sep 30, 2014, 3:17 PM EDT
“You don’t pay attention to that kind of stuff.”
Sep 30, 2014, 2:28 PM EDT
“I’m not naive, I know as the season goes on it’ll become more of a talking point.”
Sep 30, 2014, 1:42 PM EDT
D-man was likely headed to AHL Utica.
- NHL Board of Governors approves Islanders sale 5
- Speedy recovery: Giroux (lower body) to play vs. Rangers tonight 9
- Risk Factors: Boston Bruins edition 13
- Hello Johansen? Boone Jenner out with broken hand 5
- Bruins release Leino; Boychuk staying put? 18
- Babcock doesn’t think this will be his last year with the Wings 9
- Starting tomorrow, PHT’s ‘Risk Factors’ Series 6
- Krug, Smith sign with Bruins 19
- PHT Morning Skate: Grigorenko with highlight-reel shootout goal 7
- Sabres lose Larsson, Kaleta to head injuries, Leafs’ Booth out too (Update: Franson’s hurt) 5
- Jordan Subban has ‘moved on’ after ‘unfortunate’ photo caption by Vancouver papers (52)
- Players pushed for coaching fines because they were ‘encouraged’ to dive (34)
- Sabres’ Nolan, Avalanche don’t believe in analytics (32)
- Ouch: Datsyuk (separated shoulder) out 4-5 weeks (27)
- Spooner scores, but coach Julien’s not happy (23)