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Shanahan: Nash hit was ‘rotten,’ but not suspendable

Mar 22, 2013, 6:46 PM EDT

Brendan Shanahan Getty Images

NHL discipline czar Brendan Shanahan says the league didn’t like Rick Nash‘s hit on Tomas Kopecky Thursday night, but that wasn’t enough to suspend him.

In a phone interview with Yahoo!’s Puck Daddy, Shanahan explained that while Nash’s hit should’ve been penalized during the game, it didn’t contain enough elements to garner supplemental discipline.

“We don’t like this hit. It absolutely should have been a two [minute minor], and probably should have been a five,” Shanahan said. “We don’t see this as being principal point of contact to the head. For a fact, we don’t see much contact to the head at all.”

Shanahan also added he spoke to Nash on Thursday night, and told the Rangers forward the hit was “rotten.”

Nash caught Kopecky late in the third period with Florida holding a 2-0 lead. He wasn’t penalized and Kopecky left momentarily before returning to score an empty-net goal, icing the Panthers’ win.

Many have pointed to the fact Nash left his feet as a reason for punishing the hit. To that, Shanahan said the NHL doesn’t suspend players for leaving their feet, but rather “leaving your feet and hitting a guy in the head violently.”

The decision not to suspend Nash has come under heavy scrutiny.

Sports Illustrated’s Allan Muir wrote “pretty much everyone dropped the ball on this one,” while the Toronto Star’s Kevin McGran said Nash “got off scot-free,” suggesting it would’ve been appropriate for Shanahan or the disciplinary department to issue a video/statement explaining why the Rangers forward wasn’t suspended.

Related

Leafs’ Lupul tweets confusion over NHL’s suspension standards

No disciplinary hearing for Nash after Kopecky hit

  1. President Charles Logan - Mar 22, 2013 at 7:05 PM

    he feels as if he owes something to the rangers for picking him up from the bottom of the scrap heap at the end of his career and giving him playing time

    • johnstone17 - Mar 23, 2013 at 3:21 AM

      Stupid statement number one

      • President Charles Logan - Mar 23, 2013 at 11:51 AM

        and this is coming from a fan of a former coke addict who was born a busted rearranged nose before he ever even played a game of hockey ?? shut up stupid

  2. radio854321 - Mar 22, 2013 at 7:12 PM

    Wow…..not a Ranger/Panthers fan (or Crosby/Flyers)…but something should of came of this

  3. sixshooter90 - Mar 22, 2013 at 7:16 PM

    Shanys a joke. If edler gets anything its a real joke. How can he say the nash hit isnt suspendable.

  4. phillyphanatic77 - Mar 22, 2013 at 7:18 PM

    The hit deserved “two and probably should have been five”, he left his feet, and the hit was “rotten”, yet it doesn’t even warrant a fine?? Just what the hell are Shanahan and the league looking at? This is unbelievable. So eventhough Nash was clearly headhunting, because he missed his intended target and made contact with Kopecky’s neck, as opposed to the head, it’s somehow not punishable. How does intent factor into some suspensions and not others? I don’t think ANYONE (the league and Shanaban included) knows what warrants a suspension anymore. What a joke.

    • mb65dod - Mar 23, 2013 at 12:46 AM

      Shanny is rotten, besides the hit…

  5. nflfan4now - Mar 22, 2013 at 7:27 PM

    He should also have mentioned “besides, I have been told by Mr. Bettman and friends that I am to do everything I can to make sure the Rangers m ake the playoffs!!!”.

    BTW, why did his helmet go flying so far if he wasn’t hit in the head?

    • elvispocomo - Mar 22, 2013 at 10:36 PM

      Well, that was a result of whiplash more than anything else, as Nash does mostly make contact with his back. But, it’s a horrible hit where Nash leans and jumps into him with his elbows from behind. Amazed nothing, not even a phone hearing, came of this.

  6. valoisjoeybfeld69 - Mar 22, 2013 at 7:30 PM

    It was an elbow to the back of the neck. That same elbow in front of the face would have been suspendable. How do you get players to change their behavior if you don’t suspend these acts?

  7. packerswin96 - Mar 22, 2013 at 7:37 PM

    Shanahan (or whoever decided on this) is a complete joke, I do not care if Nash grazed the shoulder first, this should have been at the very least a 2 game suspension.

  8. rpiotr01 - Mar 22, 2013 at 7:42 PM

    Like I said in the other thread, when you look at the GIF that slows the play down, Nash hits the guy with the forearm in the right shoulder and upper back.

    It was a blind side hit. It was no good. It was dirty. It should have been penalized. But not worthy of a suspension.

    • JoeAvg - Mar 22, 2013 at 8:33 PM

      Under the current rules that’s correct. And it’s not Shanahan’s job to make the rules just enforce them. So I reluctently agree with him. But it can be argued that this type of hit is just as dangeous as a hit to the head. I thought it was going to be a fine – and still think it should’ve been. A wrist slap does not deter anyone from doing something similar in the future.

      • rpiotr01 - Mar 23, 2013 at 10:46 AM

        I agree, should have been a fine.

  9. puckmepuckyou - Mar 22, 2013 at 8:09 PM

    They have to take the word “targeting” out if the language and leave it at contact with the head. Getting away with saying he didn’t target the head yet made contact accidentally is crazy. It’s still a head shot.

  10. solador78 - Mar 22, 2013 at 8:57 PM


    Hi, I’m Brendan Shannahan and people tell me that I used to play for the Rangers.

  11. sjsharks66 - Mar 22, 2013 at 8:57 PM

    So you can leave your feet to make a hit? No wonder Schenn never gets suspended! Lol

    • freebie717 - Mar 22, 2013 at 10:11 PM

      Yeah! …except that time Schenn got suspended less than 2 months ago.

  12. sportsfaninyyc - Mar 22, 2013 at 8:58 PM

    now if this same hit occurred 3 feet away from the boards and he goes in head first and is stretchered off the ice, he probably would have been suspended. But since it was open-ice and he came back, Shanahan figures no harm, no foul. Ridiculous.

  13. travishenryskid - Mar 22, 2013 at 9:41 PM

    Credibility. Gone.

    • kitshky - Mar 22, 2013 at 11:25 PM

      Seriously …that’s not really an over-statement. What little credibility he had in comparison to Campbell is now completely gone.

  14. blueshirtsblow17 - Mar 22, 2013 at 9:49 PM

    Anybody other than a Ranger or the women that play in Pittsburgh would have been suspended. He got more air time than a figure skater.

  15. jimw81 - Mar 22, 2013 at 9:56 PM

    I guess the wheel of justice stopped at free pass. I hope Shanaban understands why he gets mocked all the time by not making the right descion. BTW, Shanahan wasn’t exactly the cleanest player in his day.

  16. phillyphannn83 - Mar 22, 2013 at 10:12 PM

    Shanahan said “the NHL doesn’t suspend players for leaving their feet, but rather “leaving your feet and hitting a guy in the head violently.”

    Remember that when you all cry foul just because a guy left his feet. it doesn’t equal an automatic suspension as most of you think.

    • phillyphanatic77 - Mar 22, 2013 at 11:45 PM

      What really matters is whether you’re a superstar on a large market team that the NHL desperately wants in the playoffs, not whether you left your feet and made contact with the head.

  17. tdrusher225 - Mar 22, 2013 at 10:15 PM

    Say what you want, but I still think Shanahan has done a respectable job. I disagree with the decision, it should’ve at least garnered a fine. But I can’t knock the guy, he seems to be trying hard and I enjoy that he creates these videos trying to explain all of his decisions.

    And to all of you pounding on him, please tell me when the guy who hands out supplementary discipline was ever well-liked? I can’t imagine any of you would do a better job if you were in his position.

  18. officialgame - Mar 22, 2013 at 10:26 PM

    Has anybody checked if Shannahan has taken one hit to many? He makes no sense.

  19. rekingcrew - Mar 22, 2013 at 10:44 PM

    Basically, skate behind everyone in the slot and leap with a forearm to the base if the neck. The league is cool with it.

  20. elvispocomo - Mar 22, 2013 at 10:51 PM

    So it he jumped, but made contact with his back so no hit to the head. And he hit him from behind, but not into the boards so no boarding. And he used his elbows to drive down into his back, but… well, I’m out of excuses.

  21. chanceoffleury1 - Mar 23, 2013 at 12:15 AM

    The inconsistency is what pisses me off the most. It’s like a high/low strike in baseball. If an umpire wants to call it that’s fine, so as long as it’s called every single time. If Shanahan wants to give a game for every single high stick penalty, go ahead. But you have to call it for EVERY SINGLE ONE. No exceptions just because somebody scores more points or plays for a certain team or is on a hot streak. If Zac Rinaldo lays this same exact hit on Crosby on Sunday, does Rinaldo get a game? I mean, Sid’s got a pretty soft head/neck so what happens if he’s done for the season? Does Rinaldo get 5 or 10 games now? If Neal lays the hit on Rinaldo and he’s done for the season is it still the same punishment? The stuff like catering to certain players is what needs to stop for the suspensions to be taken seriously.

  22. gmenfan1982 - Mar 23, 2013 at 2:32 AM

    I’m a Rangers fan and ill say that hit was unnecessary and straight to the back of kopecky’s neck. Should have at least been one game. Surprised Nash threw that hit. Uncalled for AND LATE.

  23. johnstone17 - Mar 23, 2013 at 3:27 AM

    As a Ranger fan, I love Nash. As a hockey fan I’m bewildered as to what constitutes a suspendeble offense. Do I think Nash intended to be reckless? No. But he acted in a reckless fashion none the less. In my selfish mind, I’m grateful he’s not suspended. In my logical mind I ask what are we talking about player saftey for, when this goes unpunished?

  24. tackledummy1505 - Mar 23, 2013 at 5:39 AM

    This is why you need a bias person to handle suspensions and fines. The Flyers had a player suspended for 4 games for a violent check while leaving his feet. He did not make contact with the players head at all, but was deemed punishable because he left his feet and that was a means to injure the player. I guess since The Czar played for the Rangers, the team must never intend to injure anyone lol

  25. nicknyhc - Mar 23, 2013 at 10:25 AM

    Aaaaaand here come the Rangers haters.

    Really? This is the non suspension that crosses the line for a lot of fans? I can think of two hits THIS WEEK that were way worse than this Nash incident. The Lupel hit and the Kronwall hit were both dirtier.

    What about Shea “Hulk Hogan” Weber’s WWF move last year against Zetterberg in the playoffs? Anyone remember that non suspension?

  26. nicknyhc - Mar 23, 2013 at 10:28 AM

    I guess this was a clean play too, huh?

  27. aventador12 - Mar 23, 2013 at 3:39 PM

    Shanahan, I do hope you read this post. You’re NO-DIFFERENT than most, if not all the officials on the ice. You pick & choose what is good or bad and it seems like sometimes, it’s how you feel it has to be treated. I know your job is not the easiest, but frankly, if anything that’s questionable at times is your decision making (same goes for you Rob Blake) and your basis for such. If you go by the nature of the game, it seems like your saving face from certain teams (and media for that matter) at times by favoring them. If you’re trying to stir drama into the game to make it attractive in some way, you’re doing it wrong. You’re an embarrassment and of course, pathetic for being in your position.

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