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Sharks’ Clowe suspended two games for leaving bench to start altercation

Feb 25, 2013, 6:31 PM EDT

NHL discipline czar Brendan Shanahan has suspended San Jose Sharks forward Ryane Clowe two games for legally leaving the bench to engage in an altercation with Chicago’s Andrew Shaw on Friday night.

Here’s Shanahan’s video explanation:

“[Joe Pavelski] has been on the ice for a minute and eight seconds, and is skating towards the Sharks door,” Shanahan explained. “Signalling to Clowe the opportunity to make a legal line change under NHL standards.

“With that established, we asked the question: Does Clowe enter the ice on a legal line change for the purpose of starting an altercation? In our opinion, the answer is yes.”

So in short, Clowe going onto the ice was legit because…

1) Head coach Todd McLellan designated him as the next player on, and the video shows Clowe was looking to make a legal change before the hit occurred.

2) Pavelski had been out long enough and close enough to the door to to signify a change was about to occur.

Ergo, no 10-game suspension for leaving the bench to fight.

The suspension stems from Clowe making a beeline at Shaw, who wasn’t engaged physically with any other player, an action that constituted the “purpose of starting an altercation.”

Shanahan also noted Clowe has been fined twice over his eight-year NHL career, which could’ve played a part in the decision.

(That said, Shanahan also remarked that Clowe’s never been suspended before.)

Since Clowe has already served one game of his suspension — sitting out Saturday’s 3-1 loss in Dallas — he’ll only miss one more game, Tuesday at home against Colorado.

He’ll also forfeit $39,189.18 in salary to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.

  1. odak51 - Feb 25, 2013 at 6:37 PM

    Maybe this will give him time to change his gameplan.

  2. icelovinbrotha215 - Feb 25, 2013 at 6:38 PM

    Sometimes I scratch my head @ these rulings. Max Pac gets nothing and Clowe gets 2 games?

    • letsgopens8771 - Feb 25, 2013 at 7:30 PM

      You are right, sometimes the discipline system has been very inconsistent and sketchy. I would think that if a player were to jump over the bench (Pens vs. Islanders) then they would be heavily punished. I remember when Dan Bylsma got suspended for 1 game for letting Eric Godard jump off the bench and start fights. Many players were fined, suspended, and the punishments were large.

      What makes me more mad about Sheriff Shanny and the discipline system is that none of the biters were suspended. Seriously, it would be really hard to lie about that sort of thing.

      3 Players that should have been suspended for biting but weren’t:

      3. Scott Hartnell for biting Kris Letang’s finger (Letang had to go to the dressing room to get stitches, I mean COME ON)
      2. Alex Burrows for biting Bergeron in the CUP FINALS, No less
      1. Mikhail Grabovski for biting Max Pac’s finger

      • sabatimus - Feb 26, 2013 at 1:05 PM

        I remember the Bergeron one being hard to prove apparently…though it takes a LOT to get Bergeron mad enough to start screaming and want to beat on another player.

  3. esracerx46 - Feb 25, 2013 at 6:58 PM

    Regardless of whether or not I feel its a legal line change or not doesnt matter. I felt he came off the bench for the.purpose of fighting. Not my choice though. Shanahan decided he feels its both. Listen, he either came off the bench, or it was a legal line change. Give him ten or dont give him any.

    • stakex - Feb 25, 2013 at 9:58 PM

      Exactlly. Guys go out on a line change with the sole purpose of starting a fight all the time… hell, some guys in the NHL have no other reason for being on the ice. Since when is it a suspendable offense to go out on the ice, by means of a legal line change, and start a fight?

      I guess hits from behind that cause concussions are perfectly fine, but starting fights is banned now…

    • jpelle82 - Feb 26, 2013 at 10:25 AM

      dont like the grey area. i dont get where he gets off making up the rules as he goes but i read the book and it doesnt say anywhere where the suspension could be reduced. its either one way or the other and the on ice officials make the decision – the only time it is supposed to go to shanahan is if the on ice officials cant determine who the offending players were. the on ice officials deemed he left the bench illegally so that shouldve been it. dont know where the 2 games come in…just completely absurd especially since it was hardly a fight and no one was hurt (except pavelski).

  4. sjtorpitt - Feb 25, 2013 at 7:02 PM

    If its a legal line change I don’t see a problem with it. Sure he deserved the roughing and misconduct, but not so sure it was suspension-worthy.

  5. c0sm0b0z0 - Feb 25, 2013 at 7:10 PM

    “purpose of starting an altercation” Thats a suspendable offence now?

  6. atwatercrushesokoye - Feb 25, 2013 at 7:16 PM

    This is what I dislike most about the NHL, there’s no rhyme or reason for the decisions that they make. Either he was making a legal line change and there should be nothing (except for the penalties assessed to him in the game) or he came off the bench to fight and it should be 10 games. I wish it was just with this but it seems like Shanahan decides punishments by throwing a dart at a dartboard.

    I guess Clowe taught other NHL players a lesson though, if the NHL offers you an in-person hearing (indicating a 6+ game suspension) just turn it down and do it by phone, the NHL will then apparently reduce your punishment.

    • sabatimus - Feb 26, 2013 at 1:10 PM

      Seriously. Shanahan determines Clowe left the bench legally, and yet Clowe get suspended anyway? Did this rule change in the last few years or something? Shawn Thornton left the bench on a legal line change and skated right up to Matt Cooke for the sole purpose of beating the crap out of him, and was Thornton suspended? (actually, he may have been, I forget…but it wouldn’t have been for leaving the bench to directly fight a player: he hit Cooke after he was down.)

  7. killerpgh - Feb 25, 2013 at 7:47 PM

    Clowe got off easy. Pascal Morency got 10 games (5 preseason/5 regular season) for leaving the bench on a legal line change to fight Dion Pheneuf after Pheneuf crushed Klye Oposo in a preseason game back in 2009.
    With this beings the rule I still can’t figure out why Matt Bradley didn’t face any supplemental discipline when he did the same thing to save Ovechkin when Ovechkin dropped the gloves and was about to fight Steve Downie.

  8. sjsharks66 - Feb 25, 2013 at 7:52 PM

    The goddard situation was an illegal line change to start a fight. Thats why it was a heavy punishment. This was a legal line change to start a fight.

    Great news though. The suspensions are so wishy-washy. Pats and shaw no suspension, clowe and hall suspended longer than someone who threw an elbow? So weird.

    • danaking - Feb 25, 2013 at 8:46 PM

      The Goddard situation took place with fights already in progress. With players engaged elsewhere, an Islander player made a run at Penguins goalie Bret Johnson, who had cock-cocked Rick DiPietro a couple of weeks earlier. Goddard left the bench to intercept the Islander before he could get to Johnson. Clearly a ten-game suspension, but neither a line change nor to start a fight. Time was out, and the fights were already on.

  9. sjsharks66 - Feb 25, 2013 at 8:57 PM

    I see what you’re saying. I just meant illegal because there was no one returning to the bench to change. Everyone was busy with their altercations on the other side of the ice.

  10. govtminion - Feb 25, 2013 at 9:30 PM

    He must be really, REALLY good at saying what Shanahan wants to hear. He’s very lucky to only be missing two games out of this.

  11. jpat2424 - Feb 25, 2013 at 11:15 PM

    Agreed I don’t get these rulings. I’m a hawks fan. But he either left the bench or didn’t. Why did he get two game suspension? If he didn’t leave the bench, then why did he get two games. Very confused.

  12. finfan88shark - Feb 26, 2013 at 3:08 AM

    According to the NHLs own rule book an altercation is between two or more people and involves throwing a punch. Both of which did not happen. In this case Shanahan just made up his own version of the rule.

  13. ctochester12 - Feb 26, 2013 at 10:10 AM

    How can it be a “legal” line change when he is the 7th man on the ice? It should have been a 2 minute delay of game too. Nobody leaves the ices and he comes on the ice. Sorry this is an illegal line change and should have been 10 games per the rules. Watch the video starting about 1:07 and there 6 men on the ice, nobody leaves the ice, and Clowe comes on.

    • ctochester12 - Feb 26, 2013 at 10:23 AM

      Down thumb me all you want, but that is the truth, sorry.

    • carbomb64 - Feb 26, 2013 at 1:38 PM

      Exactly. He’s supposed to be changing for Pavelski,
      but Pavelski stays on the ice. Pavelski makes no effort
      to get off the ice when Clowe is fighting Shaw, but stands
      there observing the fight.

    • cjsvan80 - Feb 26, 2013 at 2:50 PM

      players don’t have to wait until their teammate is actually off the ice to make a change… they just need to be within a few feet. its only “too many men” (not delay of game as you said) if the extra guy plays the puck.

      i’m pretty sure that Pavelski didn’t bother leaving the ice because the refs blew the whistle as soon as clowe jumped Shaw.

      • ctochester12 - Feb 26, 2013 at 5:25 PM

        The player that he was supposed to replace NEVER left the ice, so there were 7 Sharks on the ice, so even is they don’t have to wait for the player to be off the ice, they player still has to leave the ice.

        Yes you were right it should have been to many men on the ice.

  14. ctochester12 - Feb 26, 2013 at 11:18 AM

    Don’t just down thumb me, tell me why/how I am wrong!!!! If you can’t then don’t down thumb me. If I am wrong about something, I am willing to learn.

  15. harpdog - Feb 26, 2013 at 2:40 PM

    Shaw one of the many Chicago cheap shot artists needed some one to discipline him. He hits Pavelski from behind and Clowe was being a good team mate. Shanahan himself played like this.
    Shanahan has forgot all his hockey sense and is now a full fledged “suit”.
    Chicago has always been favored by the discipline system and the referees. The lineman should have let the encounter continue so Shaw could have gotten what he deserved.

    • toewsingkaner - Feb 26, 2013 at 7:25 PM

      Shaw made an illegal hit and was correctly assessed a minor penalty for boarding. All illegal hits on the ice are worth of a penalty but don’t rise to the level of suspension. Shanahan muddied the waters even more by saying that Clowe’s actions were BOTH legal and illegal according to NHL rules.Gotta wonder what he will come up with next.

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