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.
Apr 23, 2014, 2:17 AM EDT
They’ll be facing elimination on Thursday.
Apr 23, 2014, 1:25 AM EDT
Stunner at the Staples Center.
Apr 23, 2014, 12:07 AM EDT
Impressive, but just his first marker of the series.
Apr 22, 2014, 11:50 PM EDT
Apr 22, 2014, 11:31 PM EDT
“They thrived on it.”
Apr 22, 2014, 11:06 PM EDT
Some thought he was milking an injury and even holding the wrong knee.
Apr 22, 2014, 10:53 PM EDT
Flyers fans give it right back, though.
Apr 22, 2014, 10:45 PM EDT
Get this: people will be talking about Flyers goaltending.
Apr 22, 2014, 10:40 PM EDT
Not exactly a thing of beauty, but it counts…
Apr 22, 2014, 10:25 PM EDT
Kept him out of the entire opening round.
Apr 22, 2014, 10:14 PM EDT
Boston’s first win at Joe Louis Arena in seven years.
Apr 22, 2014, 10:03 PM EDT
Not the names you’d expect, huh?
Apr 22, 2014, 9:50 PM EDT
Tampa Bay hits a wall called Montreal.
Apr 22, 2014, 9:39 PM EDT
Another blowout coming?
Apr 22, 2014, 9:03 PM EDT
And creates a little bit of controversy in the process.
Apr 22, 2014, 8:41 PM EDT
Could this be his last appearance with Tampa Bay?
Apr 22, 2014, 7:50 PM EDT
Also: Capitals Winter Classic and Islanders ownership talk.
Apr 22, 2014, 7:14 PM EDT
Steve Mason backs up Ray Emery for Philly.
Apr 22, 2014, 6:42 PM EDT
Who can take a 2-1 lead?
Apr 22, 2014, 6:25 PM EDT
At least there wasn’t a school bus involved with this comparison.
- Sharks beat Kings in OT, take 3-0 stranglehold on series 20
- Rangers chase Emery, top Flyers for 2-1 series lead 42
- Bruins dominate Red Wings, take 2-1 series lead 18
- And then there were 15: Lightning eliminated 60
- WATCH LIVE: San Jose Sharks at Los Angeles Kings (Game 3) 2
- Bettman says shootouts are staying, gives salary cap estimate 31
- Video: Yeo asked if Cooke told to ‘target’ Avs, does not like question 44
- On Matt Cooke and whether he’s a ‘repeat offender’ 58
- Marleau, O’Reilly and St. Louis named Lady Byng finalists 20
- Zuccarello: ‘I’m not a diver’ 50
- Video: Seabrook ejected for charging Backes; will face hearing (update) (153)
- Bad luck strikes twice: Lightning goal waved off, Stamkos takes knee to head (127)
- Keith doesn’t remember if he taunted Backes after Seabrook hit (125)
- Video: Lucic spears DeKeyser from behind (118)
- Flyers want to ‘punish’ McDonagh (113)