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Shanahan: “I was very close to a one-game suspension” on Shea Weber

Apr 16, 2012, 9:53 AM EDT

Brendan Shanahan Getty Images

You don’t usually hear from the NHL’s VP of Player Safety Brendan Shanahan once he’s handed out punishment, but he made a stop on the Boomer & Carton radio show on WFAN in New York City and had some fascinating things to say about his decisions in the postseason.

One incident he was grilled about was the fine given to Nashville captain Shea Weber for his WWE head-smash of Detroit’s Henrik Zetterberg. Shanahan told Boomer & Carton that he was really close to banning Weber for a game (audio) but was saved by none other than Red Wings GM Ken Holland.

“I looked at that one and I’m not happy with that play,” Shanahan said. “I investigated that hit. I called Detroit that night. I think that (Weber) pushed (Zetterberg’s) face in the glass. I was really close to a one-game suspension on that and when I talked to Detroit and I talked to (Ken Holland) he basically said the player was fine.”

We know that punishing the intent of the play is what should happen and that punishing for injury (or not punishing for a lack of one) looks reactionary, but I’m willing to give Shanahan a break here for being open and honest enough to give a look into how the process goes for this.

Of course, that doesn’t take away from the seeming lack of common sense that happens when these instances are discussed. It would seem logical that a nasty play with ill intent would be punished, but things are different in the NHL whether we like it or not.

  1. comeonnowguys - Apr 16, 2012 at 10:04 AM

    Shanaban… just stop talking, man.

    Bitz got two games for doing something less dirty than what Weber did. And now you say you ALMOST gave Weber half the penalty Bitz got?

    Wow. That makes everything better.

    • polegojim - Apr 16, 2012 at 10:57 AM

      Doesn’t matter if Hank is fine, it was intent.

      You blew it Brendon. You blew it, just admit it.

      • Playing the Ponzi - Apr 16, 2012 at 11:20 AM

        Amen. I love hockey’s ultra-violence, but you’ve still got to suspend the guys after they do it!! The Weber non-suspension and Carkner 1 game suspension are asinine. Especially when compared with Hagelin getting 3!

        Perhaps Shanahan is trying to give us a high-brow lesson in chaos theory?

      • polegojim - Apr 16, 2012 at 11:24 AM

        Yep – he’s been accused of favoring the Wings as a former Wing. I think he mistakenly attempted to downplay that.

        Bad decision.

    • themohel - Apr 16, 2012 at 4:11 PM

      I agree he should shut his yap. This makes it sound like he’s second-guessing himself. But I don’t necessarily agree that Bitz hit was less dirty – he’s going at a high rate of speed and caused a much more violent impact than did Weber. I guess it is more outside of ‘normal’ hockey, but not as dangerous as Bitz’s hit. I thought Weber deserved one game.

  2. miketoasty - Apr 16, 2012 at 10:05 AM

    Just because the player was “Fine” doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be a suspendable play. Asham basically jumped Schenn yesterday but Schenn looked okay, does that mean that Asham shouldn’t get fined either? You have to draw the line somewhere Shanahan or this league is going to turn into a joke.

    • rpb1234 - Apr 16, 2012 at 10:40 AM

      Too late… The league is a joke. I do not see anyway that the NHL can maintain relevancy while the punishments are so arbitrary.

      3 games for elbowing a star from a clean playing rookie.(injury)
      1 game for beating a role player when he is down and defenseless.(no injury)
      $2500 for a star grabbing and smashing another stars head into (no injury)

      It seems that the intent and the action is far less important that the injury. Weber probably could have removed his skate and shiv’d Zetterberg and still gotten away with just a fine is Hank had been ok.

      The “Player Safety” moniker is a joke. They are not at all concerned about player safety. They are somewhat concerned about “Star Player Safety”.

      Shanahan is “VP of Discipline when a star player is injured by a role player except when the role player is from Pittsburgh” blah, blah, blah…

      Nobody can follow this and soon nobody will care…

      • miketoasty - Apr 16, 2012 at 12:42 PM

        I am very curious to see what they do with Neal. That will basically determine the league’s standings on suspensions. Star deliberately going after another (Up and coming) star, with a slight injury.

  3. dougr42 - Apr 16, 2012 at 10:13 AM

    The NHL needs to fix this. This dirt is out of control. Suspend for intent! There are too many player just flat out trying to hurt others: Weber, Carkner, Neal, Asham. Fans don’t want to see it and the playesr don’t want to deal with it. FIX IT.

    I can’t believe I actually agree with Mike Milbury on something: this is bad for the sport and has to stop.

  4. biffnasty - Apr 16, 2012 at 10:14 AM

    Shannahan- you sir are an idiot

    • polegojim - Apr 16, 2012 at 11:04 AM

      I’m angry about it, but its simply a blown decision.

      Overall, the man has done better than ANY of his predecessors

      • rpb1234 - Apr 16, 2012 at 11:13 AM

        You must be smoking crack…

        There is simply NO WAY to justify the Weber lack of suspension. You can make a case for any of the others, but this was so blatant. Weber was either totally out-of-control mentally or he was in control and really, really trying to injure Zetterberg. If they were serious about protecting players, then Weber needs to get suspended.

        When Shanny makes such an awful decision that is clearly influenced by external factors, he really should go into bunker mode. What a terrible idea to go on the radio. It was like he was trying to re-establish his personal credibility. It just resulted in making him and the league look far worse.

        The NHL just doesn’t seem to get it.

      • polegojim - Apr 16, 2012 at 11:22 AM

        You obviously haven’t read my previous posts on this. Go ahead and give it a shot.

        My point on THIS post is – He blew the Weber deal and should have issued a suspension, but that Shanahan isn’t an ‘idiot’. He’s been far better than all other discipline attempts.

      • wingsdjy - Apr 16, 2012 at 11:52 AM

        A blown decision is only justifiable when it occurs during the game itself by an on-ice ref that doesn’t have the benefit of a replay. Shanny is like a Monday-morning QB. He has plenty of time to get it right. He blew it, and he knows it.

      • polegojim - Apr 16, 2012 at 12:51 PM

        No justification for bad Weber decision, but his overall body of work has been good.

      • rpb1234 - Apr 16, 2012 at 12:32 PM


        Sorry about the crack comment. I had not associated you with the previous post.

        I still disagree. Shanny was brought in to “protect” the players. Maybe it is the same role as Campbell had, but his mandate was to remove the types of incidents that could lead to a player injury.

        He put his integrity and reputation on the line as a figurehead for the NHL. The NHL hoped that he could lend some credibility to the league.

        Instead he looks ridiculous. He has tarnished his upstanding reputation and has become a shill for the GMs. His pseudo-arbitrary decisions have cost him credibility and have hurt the league in general.

        If like Colin Campbell, he was a league insider set to protect the status quo, it would not be so bad. He was supposed to be unbiased. He decisions have hurt the league far more because it is so obvious that he is just a mouth piece.

        The Weber decision has removed any doubt about whether he is actually trying to protect players health.

      • polegojim - Apr 16, 2012 at 12:49 PM

        Agree on bad Weber decision, but still not ready to throw out the baby with the bathwater

    • chumthumper - Apr 16, 2012 at 2:12 PM

      To clarify biffnasty’s post: Shanahan, YOU ARE AN IDIOT! You work for mgmt, but think you’re still one of the guys on the loading dock. Your wimpy “discipline” is going to get someone seriously hurt. A slap on the wrist is not going to do it. Players know you know you don’t have spine; that you won’t do anything to them, so the cheap shots will continue.

  5. Lori Schmidt - Apr 16, 2012 at 10:24 AM

    If you want to change the way the players think, don’t you have to punish them based on what they appear to be thinking at the time of the incident, not the result?

    • michiganhockey11 - Apr 16, 2012 at 12:48 PM

      Exactly. Punish the intent and/or action. Not the results. That is the only way to curb the actions in the future.

  6. bobhpine - Apr 16, 2012 at 10:24 AM

    Only in the NHL does the player discipline run through the GM’s first…say what you will about goodell but he tells the owners and the players the rules and enforces them, he doesn’t call to see if they are ok with a fine… There is a reason the NHL is a distant fourth to the nba MLB and nfl

  7. prolibertate85 - Apr 16, 2012 at 10:36 AM

    Well I’m very close to taking a break from the NHL.
    It’s become a joke.

  8. myersflyers - Apr 16, 2012 at 10:37 AM

    Mr Scamanan, yes fighting in hockey does belong. But you sir are in charge of keeping the cancer out! Mr. Mario you sir stood against this especially the head and cheap shoots….you sir are letting the cancer spread. My sister inlaw died april 15th of cancer, Now every year I think of her passing I will think of your scum players who after that display will no longer be looked at the same. You Mr. Mario were Class…. you beat cancer God Bless now beat it out of your team and the sport we both love. Mr Scananan do the right thing or step down!!!!!!!

  9. mclovinhockey - Apr 16, 2012 at 10:46 AM

    That’s good cause it should have been 3. Stop favoring teams against your former teams and start being unbiased.

  10. scoops1 - Apr 16, 2012 at 10:47 AM

    Loved shanny as a player but I think he took too many hits in the head

  11. rainyday56 - Apr 16, 2012 at 10:49 AM

    Shannahan: “why . . . you! . . . why I otta . . . !”

  12. bcisleman - Apr 16, 2012 at 10:54 AM

    An injury should be considered as a factor in deciding on the LENGTH of suspension, not on whether there should be one. Also, I’m sure that if Kevin Kline had done the same thing, he would have been suspended.

  13. wicky888 - Apr 16, 2012 at 11:26 AM

    I wish I could use that excuse when I mess up at work. I’ll try that one next time, I’ll just tell my boss …. “well I almost did my job right, but then I just messed it up”

  14. govtminion - Apr 16, 2012 at 11:30 AM

    You know what’s going to really suck?

    After all of the public outcry over the mess the NHL has made here, the next player to screw up is going to get smacked with a big suspension, no matter how bad the hit, just so Shanahan can try to silence his critics.

    • comeonnowguys - Apr 16, 2012 at 1:46 PM

      The second level to which it sucks will be that the outcry from the overreach will give him “Well, some people are never happy” ammunition.

      Just call them fair going forward. He screwed up; don’t continue to screw up by playing to the peanut gallery.

  15. 2qswing - Apr 16, 2012 at 11:32 AM

    The most recent Phil-Pit and Ranger-Sens games were complete embarassments to the game. They are the direct result of the inaction of Shanahan in the Shea Weber case. In not suspending Weber for that WWE head slam, he declared wink wink, boys will be boys.
    Whats next Shanny, folding chair shots to the back of the head. How about a steel cage match. I hate the Rangers but they got the shaft with these latest rulings. Yes their guy deserved 3 for the hit on Alfredson. But pummeling a defessless player laying face down on the ice only gets one game?
    Shanahan had every oportunity to suspend Weber for a game and send an early message for the playoffs. Instead he rewarded him and made a mockery of the game. We are seeing the result.

    • Playing the Ponzi - Apr 16, 2012 at 11:42 AM

      Well, chairs to the back of the head are just fine so long as the guy appears to be okay. $2500 fine.

      However, if you check a guy and he happens to separate his shoulder, it’s a 3 game suspension.

      Shanny logic. Just gotta avoid concussing the guy while hitting him with the chair – that’s the key.

    • vshehane - Apr 16, 2012 at 5:06 PM

      This is the stupidest remark I have seen written on here, and there have been some really stupid remarks. There have been hard and bad hits all season that weren’t suspended so to blame one hit that didn’t even cause an injury is ridiculous. If the hit had not been against the Wings you wouldn’t even have noticed. It’s time to move on from the Shea Weber fiasco. It’s over.

      • Playing the Ponzi - Apr 16, 2012 at 5:17 PM

        I am not a fan of either team (NSH or DET), and I’ve got to disagree, vshahane. On the Weber play, there was clear intent to injure. I believe intent (where it can be determined) should be the primary focus – not whether an actual injury occurred or not. The same kind of hit/foul could a) not injure a guy, b) concuss a guy, or c) worse – it all depends on his history with injury and the physics of a particular hit. Fractions of inches determine whether a), b) or c) is the outcome. Intent should be the guideline. It’s only way to crack down on plays where there appears to be clear malicious intent. To me, as someone who isn’t a fan of NSH or DET – and a person who loves the violence of the game – Weber’s play required a serious suspension. On a different day, Zetterberg could have been concussed or worse. You don’t wait til the guy with the gun actually hits someone before you go after him – you go after him as soon as he starts shooting.

  16. sabatimus - Apr 16, 2012 at 11:35 AM

    Very close = nothing. Don’t give us this crap.

  17. wingsdjy - Apr 16, 2012 at 11:55 AM

    To think I liked this joker better than Yzerman in the 90s. I must’ve been a misguided youth.

  18. supercoop8 - Apr 16, 2012 at 12:01 PM

    Its condescending to tell the fans “almost” as if we are children and Shanahan didn’t show up to our little game

  19. paperkid96 - Apr 16, 2012 at 12:14 PM

    Shanny, Holland said “Zetterberg was fine”, not “Weber needs a fine”!

  20. bigoldorcafromvan - Apr 16, 2012 at 12:58 PM

    This is too funny coming from the NHL. Their first prioty is to stop headshots. This story isn.t going to do that. Wow 2500 to Weber is not even a beer to me. Shanny was close to a wow 1 game suspension, big deal. I was close to winning the lottery also. This is getting stupid.

  21. aventador12 - Apr 16, 2012 at 1:01 PM

    He just pretty much proved that inconsistency regarding calls in the league this season is in play and he’s no different.

  22. nydaniel - Apr 16, 2012 at 1:25 PM

    Shamahan has his head so far up his a$$ he can almost see Pittsburgh.

    • habsman - Apr 16, 2012 at 8:09 PM


  23. drewsylvania - Apr 16, 2012 at 3:24 PM

    Shanny, you’re an f’ing joke now and everyone knows it.

  24. thehighcountrybear - Apr 16, 2012 at 4:51 PM

    The theatre of the absurd with Shanahan entering stage left…? Can you imagine the hue and cry had any player slammed the head any player on any team playing north of the 49th into the glass? What an embarrassment to the credibility of the position and to the game itself…

  25. thehighcountrybear - Apr 16, 2012 at 5:32 PM

    The essence of the argument weighs intent over outcome? The issue of the Weber non-call is hardly over because it speaks to the credibility of the NHL’s effort to police overt violence in its game while pandering to needs of marginal franchises or franchises in financial trouble needing extended playoff runs; difficult were a key component of a given team duly suspended in accordance with past practice! So, following common law and natural justice, is it okay to wander into a bank, hold the bank up at gun point, find out the vault was already cleared, then walk away free of meaningful penalty because intent was frustrated and the outcome was clearly less damaging to the bank…? The standard the NHL uses to gauge penalty while using damage as its measuring stick has no foundation in any system following a prescribed system of Law as does the NHL itself in its Rules of the Game…their methodology will continually be open to debate and conjecture until they order up a prescribed schedule of penalties free of subjective input from any participant in the penalty phase! So no, these pages are here to enter into debate, so ‘moving on’ is precisely what the incompetents managing the NHL would prefer…it meets their criteria for masking attempts at realistic change fostered by public debate!

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