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Jonathan Toews isn’t happy with how suspensions have been handled

Apr 17, 2012, 10:45 AM EDT

Jonathan Toews Getty Images

We’ve heard from plenty of people who aren’t too happy with how Brendan Shanahan and the NHL have handled league discipline during the playoffs and now you can add Jonathan Toews‘ name to the list.

Toews tells David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune that players are confused as to what is and isn’t dirty and which plays will lead to suspensions. The instance Toews focuses on most is Shea Weber‘s wrestling-like move on Henrik Zetterberg.

“In a situation like that with Weber, more than anything you should make an example of it, regardless of whether he’s a star player,” said Toews, who missed 22 games due to a concussion. “They have been trying to make an example of things like that so they don’t happen again and all of a sudden you let one slide like that. Everyone must feel like they’re back to square one. So it is frustrating.”

Whether you believe they’re back to square one or if players feel like it’s open season to do as you will, daring the league to do something about it, that’s up for debate. This is a situation the league created for itself either way and upsetting the players during the league’s most important time of year doesn’t do anyone any favors.

You’ll have to wonder if Toews will feel the same way should his teammate, Andrew Shaw, wind up getting suspended for running into Coyotes goalie Mike Smith in Game 2.

  1. michiganhockey11 - Apr 17, 2012 at 10:54 AM

    They’ll give Weber a fine, but Dubinsky gets tossed for a stupid discretion about the 3rd man in rule. Should only apply if your teamate is actually engaged with someone, not getting grounded and pounded while putting up no defense.

    • Karen M - Apr 17, 2012 at 11:00 AM

      Agreed, that was an absurd application of the 3rd man rule.

    • fireshanny - Apr 17, 2012 at 11:29 AM

      I don’t think we can argue the Dubinksy thing in the same context. Yes maybe it was a bad call, but it was one made by the ref in the spur of the moment.

      Shanahan has day to review the videos. A standard needs to be set.

      1) It should not matter who the guilty party is.

      • fireshanny - Apr 17, 2012 at 11:34 AM

        (wanted to write more but it submitted mid-typing for some reason)

        – The only weight the guilty party should carry is their prior history.

        2) It should not matter who the victim is.
        – The only weight that should carry is, if it’s a star player, it may be more likely to show there was intent by the guilty party.

        3) It should not matter of the victim is injured.
        – Why does this matter at all?The guilty party did an action that is likely to result in injury. If the victim is lucky and not hurt, that type of action should not go unpunished. The likely result was injury!

        I think regular season games should equal playoff games. The goal is to increase player safety. If you perform an action that decreases player safety you should be punished. The punishment should be the same at all times.

  2. davidpcoelho - Apr 17, 2012 at 11:05 AM

    Seems like intent to harm is never taken into consideration, just the outcome.

  3. Karen M - Apr 17, 2012 at 11:08 AM

    I’m a Blackhawks fan and I’ve heard a lot of people calling for no suspension for Shaw. It’s tough to guess what ‘court’ will decide since there aren’t really any comprable hits this year to compare it to. I’m actually ok with a game because, while he intend to hurt Smith by any means, he also was a bit reckless (in addition to a couple of other borderline reckless hits in the first couple of games.) I absolutely adore the kid and love his agitating but I don’t ever want him crossing that line so if a game settles him down comfortably on the side of safe and legal then so be it.

    • Karen M - Apr 17, 2012 at 11:11 AM

      Blerg, that should obviously read “didn’t intend to hurt Smith”

  4. micasa81 - Apr 17, 2012 at 11:12 AM

    Two thoughts here:

    1) I thought Shanahan was, overall, doing a pretty good job consistency-wise during the regular season. I never liked the rationale of the victim’s subsequent condition being such a big factor in determining the punishment, but overall I thought the new rules were being methodically enforced, which is the most important thing. This consistency has not carried over into the playoffs. If I had to say why, I think it’s a combination of the NHL not being clear on 1 playoff game = __ regular season games, and simply being overwhelmed by the sheer volume of animosity that has played out in most of the series so far.

    2) Toews is right that players don’t know what to expect, but I simply can’t blame the league for the craziness that’s been happening on the ice. He’s implying that the primary motivation for not taking each other’s heads off is fear of being suspended. There should be more respect among players than that. How about this: look at your opponents as human beings whose life/career you could ruin/end if you come unhinged on them.

    • thelamster - Apr 18, 2012 at 2:54 AM

      My take on this is that the problem started with the on-ice officiating. By far, the NHL is the most inconsistent of any of the major sports when it comes to officiating. Although the rules never change throughout the season, the calls made by the referees certainly do. At the beginning of the season to the last day of regular season, we have a ‘slackening’ of the calls that were made earlier. Then the playoffs begin and the officiating is inconsistent again. Two hits that are very similar in nature get treated very differently. Although we see Raffi Torres as the human train wreck who leaves his feet on every hit, Dustin Brown’s hit on Henrik Sedin isn’t much different. Both hits were dealt long after the puck had left the vicinity. Raffi will get a suspension but Dustin Brown will not… Shea Weber’s bashing of Zetterberg’s head into the glass should be dealt with as an ‘intent to injure’… only a $2500 fine. I think the players are frustrated and don’t know what will be called from game to game… sometimes from period to period.

  5. lsxphotog - Apr 17, 2012 at 11:12 AM

    Shanahan will not have his position next year…mark my words. He’s not consistent enough and not making the right calls on a lot of plays. As much as I like Weber, he deserved at least a game. Dirty play? 1 game. Dirty play with injury? minimum 3 games. Is that such a wrong ruling for calls?

  6. ravenscaps48 - Apr 17, 2012 at 11:39 AM

    Take a number, Jonathan

  7. comeonnowguys - Apr 17, 2012 at 11:58 AM

    The more I watched Keith’s hit on Daniel, the clearer the intent (to hit high) and legitimate injury became.

    The more I watched Shaw’s hit on Smith, the opposite happened. I saw less intent to hit the goalie and more embellishment.

    Smith was rolling around on the ice until the refs finally (after a ridiculously long time) called the 5 and the hook. And then all of a sudden he’s fine, no need for the backup or the quiet room, and he plays on like nothing was wrong.

    This is what happens when you rely on outcome more than intent for punishment. The kicker is that he likely didn’t even need to do it.

    Shaw was he was legitimately trying to play the puck, but he was reckless about it and he got kicked out of the game as punishment. Even ignoring the “well, Weber only got…” trap, a suspension is really not warranted.

  8. drewsylvania - Apr 17, 2012 at 12:24 PM

    The “injury gets you more games” rule is turning the league into a bunch of soccer players. Get rid of it NOW.

    • ravenscaps48 - Apr 17, 2012 at 12:34 PM

      You ain’t kidding!

  9. dougr42 - Apr 17, 2012 at 1:37 PM

    This picture kind of looks like he’s taking a dump into the bench.

  10. hagigun - Apr 17, 2012 at 2:25 PM

    1st off, on this Shaw/Smith play, if you watch the overhead angle, you can see Shaw’s body/shoulder area expand in an effort to make contact with Smith. While the intent to injure did not seem present, he did not try and avoid the hit. Based on video he actually tried to make contact by making his body area larger with the broadening of his shoulders. With that move and aggressive play, he has to deal with the consequences and he happened to strike Smith in the head. I would MAYBE give him 1 game. Otherwise nothing. 1 game is warranted because he tried to make contact with a goalie, not necessarily try and injure him, but you must make an effort to avoid him. No effort was made, in fact the opposite effort was made. Again, since they called the 5 and game at the time, that in itself seems good to me, if you want to tack on another game, seems fair as a deterrent for others considering a sneaky “the goalie was in my way” type hit.

    Weber, plain and simple should have been given 2 games min. That was WWE, the only intent of that play is to inflict pain/injury. It’s a direct play on the head. It should be in the freaking training video on what direct contact to the head is all about. I mean, he grabbed the head and then made sure he had a good grip with his other hand, then slammed it in the boards. Brutal job by Shanny on that one. I can see why players should be confused, but really it’s not confusing at all. Weber got the “Star” treatment, Zetterberg was fine, and the NHL needs a good competitive series and no Weber makes that dicey.

    But with the whole, “injury gets you more games” deal. If you get rid of that (which i agree with) you open up a can of worms and it’s literally impossible not to know about the injury. For example, in my opinion, what Bertuzzi did to Steve Moore, not all that bad. Stay with me here. Moore takes a run at Naslund a few games earlier. Instead of facing the music (a role in which he plays tough guy/goon) he decides to skate away from Bertuzzi. Well Bert is gonna get this thing going regardless, you gotta answer for your actions. So he strikes him from behind in the side of the head. The resulting chain of events goes horribly and tragically wrong. The rest is history. But don’t tell me what Bertuzzi did is out of the ordinary. Any time you see a scrum in the corner, guys are swinging at players with fist from the side, behind, etc. I saw numerous players (Adams on Hartnell) start swing with guys having their back turned. The difference is, Hartnells helmet didn’t pop off and head hit the ice and end his career. So if you back the “don’t take injury into account” you are really backing Bertuzzi…I do back Bertuzzi so I have no issue with it. Bert gets a bad rap because of a tragic accident. Sure if he doesn’t swing, nothing happens, but it’s not like Bert loosened Moore’s helmet and planned on him whacking his head on the ice. Moore could have faced the music, so there is fault all the way around. Just a tragic accident that happens in the course of hockey. Again, watch for any player come in a scrum and hit someone from the side or behind in the head. Happens all the time, just not with those tragic consequences that Steve Moore had to and is still dealing with.

    Wild fan who has no loyalty on any of this.

  11. geo91 - Apr 17, 2012 at 6:20 PM

    Wow, way too long to read guy. About time players come forward and say this is a joke, Shanny.

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