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Precedent set: Shanahan suspends Bitz two games for boarding

Apr 12, 2012, 7:44 PM EDT

NHL discipline czar Brendan Shanahan has issued his first playoff suspension, handing Vancouver’s Byron Bitz a two-game ban for boarding Kings forward Kyle Clifford on Wednesday.

Here’s the video explanation:

Bitz was given a five minute boarding major on the play and a game misconduct. Clifford left the contest, didn’t return and today the Kings announced he’d miss Game 2 with an upper-body injury.

The suspension length is notable given what Shanahan’s predecessor, Colin Campbell, handed out in the first round of last year’s playoffs.  Campbell issued three suspensions — Jarret Stoll got one game for boarding Ian White, Bobby Ryan got two games for stomping Jonathan Blum and Jarkko Ruutu got a game for a late hit on Martin Erat.

It’s also a noteworthy length given what Shanahan said back in March:

“I can attest to this as a player, if you ask me if I’d rather have a four-game suspension in November than a one-game suspension in the playoffs, I’d take the four-game suspension in November.

“If you think about it, that one game in the finals is the equivalent of a 12-game suspension. … I don’t feel we’re in the punishment business, we’re in the changing player behavior business. You do that by getting a player’s attention.”

By that math, Byron Bitz just got an eight-game suspension.

  1. chibimike - Apr 12, 2012 at 8:05 PM

    Crystal clear message. If you are a nobody and hit a guy during play you sit 2 games. If you are a star and attack a player with an intent to injure after the game is over, you pay a fine of 1 minute and 40 seconds of your salary. Nice job Shanny, you make the “colin” look good.

    • habsman - Apr 12, 2012 at 8:24 PM

      It’s a total disgrace that Shanahan and Colin Campbell have in charge of discipline for this great sport. Hockey will always be seen as a second rate sport in the eyes of most as long as the “old boy” network is running the show. Two games for Bitz and zero for Webber? Nice work Brendan.

      • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Apr 12, 2012 at 8:47 PM

        Gotta agree with Habsman (hell’s frozen over, guess we can play hockey there too now). I was watching PTI and they were just baffled by Weber’s “punishment.”

    • chibimike - Apr 12, 2012 at 8:36 PM

      So what happens to Shanahans logic if Zetterberg wakes up tomorrow with back spasms and is out the rest of the series. Does Shanahan revisit the punishment? Of course not, that is why you punish the act, not the immediate result.

      • sabatimus - Apr 13, 2012 at 12:32 AM

        Exactly. Shanahan’s use of injury to determine severity of suspensions inherently doesn’t take into account injuries that might pop up down the road as a direct result of the hits–which is hardly far fetched at all. Punish the act harshly and get it right the first time.

      • michiganhockey11 - Apr 13, 2012 at 11:04 AM

        Only way to change behavior is to punish act or intent, not result.

  2. loinstache - Apr 12, 2012 at 8:17 PM

    It’s one thing to rumble that the disciplinary action in this game is a joke, it’s another to have such a flagrant example. Good effin’ job.

  3. gbiscottagecheesefatties - Apr 12, 2012 at 8:29 PM

    go F yourself Shanny

  4. DTF31 - Apr 12, 2012 at 10:17 PM

    When reached for comment Bitz replied with “I guess next time I’ll just use the People’s Elbow [instead of a shoulder]. Thats still okay right?”

    • michiganhockey11 - Apr 13, 2012 at 9:34 AM

      Is that before or after he puts him into a sharpshooter when he’s lying on the ice?

      Why don’t the guys ‘put on the foil’ now?

  5. hockeyflow33 - Apr 13, 2012 at 12:07 AM

    Bunch of babies. Have any of you ever agreed with one of his decisions?

  6. taytay099 - Apr 13, 2012 at 12:14 AM

    Bitz’s hit does not even need an explanation. Everyone should understand the 2 game suspension; it is well deserved. Not only was it boarding, but it was into the head and from behind.

    I think he should have spent the time making a video explaining why Weber won’t be suspended. Not a single person understands the logic behind that.

  7. sabatimus - Apr 13, 2012 at 12:29 AM

    Am I the only one who thinks that hit should get him 5 games…yes, in the playoffs? Shanny thinks that the playoffs are bigger games than regular season ones–and he’s right. Which is why the rules should be more harshly enforced, or enforced equally, in the playoffs.

    Of course, not that they’re going to miss Byron freaking Bitz that much anyway.

  8. HawaiiHockey - Apr 13, 2012 at 3:58 AM

    Honestly, what baffles me is the title of this article. Clearly Shanahan hasn’t set any precedent and is handing out punishments arbitrarily.

    • bergeronforselke - Apr 13, 2012 at 8:18 AM

      haha, thats what i was thinking HH…

  9. comeonnowguys - Apr 13, 2012 at 9:55 AM

    You can’t slap Weber on the wrist and then do this in almost the same news cycle. While I agree with this suspension in and of itself, it just feels like an absolute joke put next to Weber.

    It’s not even a slap on the wrist; Weber’s punishment is the equivalent of a stern, disapproving look.

    • michiganhockey11 - Apr 13, 2012 at 11:00 AM

      We could have at least gotten some nuns to poke him with their pointy fingers or slap the top of his hands with a ruler….

  10. sharksman - Apr 13, 2012 at 1:37 PM

    Bitz made a bad hit but at least it was a hockey play. Weber’s hit was 10 times worse as far as intent goes. Precedent set my A$$.!! all I can say is WOW

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