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What is Shanahan Trying to Do?

From Neil Keefe at CBS New York:

Does Brendan Shanahan think he’s doing a good job because he makes videos to explain the infractions and the punishments he determines for the infractions? Because, if anything, the videos make his decisions look even more nonsensical. At least when Campbell was recklessly throwing around suspensions (or sometimes a lack thereof), there wasn’t video evidence of him narrating plays so we could see inside his inconsistent mind.

In Game 2 of the Rangers-Senators series, Matt Carkner dressed with the mission of fighting Brian Boyle and getting physical with Erik Karlsson, and I have no problem with Carkner dressing for this purpose. But when Boyle decided he wasn’t going to fight Carkner on the first attempt, Carkner decided he was going to fight anyway and sucker-punched Boyle and then continued to punch him as he went down to the ice. In the process, Brandon Dubinsky went to the aid of his defenseless teammate and was given a game misconduct for not allowing Carkner to finish a job that could have ended Boyle’s season or maybe even his career.

Carkner was suspended one game for a pre-mediated attack (which once again I don’t have a problem with since its part of the game, but square up or take care of it in the correct setting), but an attack against a guy who didn’t square up with him and led to Carkner doing what he was set out to do anyway. One game! Here’s what Shanahan said in his NHL.com video review of Carkner’s infraction.

Click here for more from Keefe.

Filed in: | Goal Line Report | Permalink
  Tags: 2012+stanley+cup+playoffs, brian+boyle, carl+hagelin, matt+carkner, neil+keefe, new+york+rangers, ottawa+senators

Comments

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Didn’t Matt Martin get 4 games for doing something similar to Maxime Talbot, but not nearly as bad? The refs need to call the rabbit punch shit that Boyle was doing the first game and give him 5 and a ten. You throw a punch, call it a fight and be done with it. Enough of this tough guy act after every whistle.

However, that does not excuse Carkner from assaulting a player. The idea that he was defending a teammate is laughable. Was Karlsson in immediate physical danger from a game that took place two days earlier? Carkner should have gotten 15 games or the rest of the playoffs whichever is longer.

Shanahan is really taking a beating and that is the price to pay for being a shill of the GMs and the NHL. A once admired NHL player is now just a gutless puppet.

Posted by hockey1919 from mid-atlantic on 04/16/12 at 02:21 PM ET

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he is a repeat offender who actually hurt a guy a few years ago…he should be gone and out of the playoffs….then hagelin gets 3 games for an elbow that was a hockey play…granted he shouldn’t have put his elbow in his face but was making a play…hagelin is not dressed to go out and hurt guys…he is a player….
shanny blowing calls along with the refs blowing call left and right…

dustin brown puts a good legal hit on sedin and then you have beaska and burrows running around…first of all, burrows needs to get his ass kicked because he is a true punk out there…go ahead burrows, actually fight dustin brown and we’ll see what happens…no he won’t, he’ll wait until there are the linesmen right there to break it up…he is a good player but a puss when it comes getting dirty…

Posted by presk8 from usa on 04/16/12 at 02:21 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Three games for Hagelin is a lot easier to stomach if you drop at least 5 on Carkner.

I wonder how long it would take to clean things up a bit if the NHL went hockey1919’s suggestion that a punch is a fight regardless of whether the gloves stay on.

I’d go so far as to say that fighting majors no longer have to be shared. You throw a gloved punch at a guy in a scrum and he doesn’t retaliate? You sit 5 for fighting and he doesn’t.  Since he didn’t fight, you also get an instigator.

This way, those net-front tough guys get to sit for seven minutes and calm down while their team goes shorthanded for 2 (I wouldn’t make a one-way fight a manpower issue, since the instigator… which should ALWAYS be called in this situation… takes care of that part)

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 04/16/12 at 02:42 PM ET

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JJ that was my point, there does NOT have to be two guys throwing punches for it to be a fight. I don’t care if gloves are on or off, you throw a punch it is a fight. Cut the nonsense. I am more than willing to drop the gloves and go, I hate when guys back away wait for the linesman to jump in and then throw a punch.

I have no problem with Hagelin’s 3, because it is the only suspension that is correct. It shouldn’t matter that it was Alfredsson that was hit or that he was concussed. Let’s not pretend we know the extent of injuries when making these stupid decisions.

Posted by hockey1919 from mid-atlantic on 04/16/12 at 02:54 PM ET

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Three games for Hagelin is a lot easier to stomach if you drop at least 5 on Carkner.

I agree JJ.

I am really sickened that Carkner got less.  And to say that its justified or mitigated because of something that Boyle did in the previous game is equally disgusting.

I see very little distinction between Carkners actions, and Bertuzzi’s actions in the Moore incident.  He was not on the ice to play hockey, only to start an altercation.

Results are different, this time.  But I am really afraid the NHL is inviting a repeat by essentially endorsing vigilante justice by refusing to punish this type of behavior.

Posted by jwad on 04/16/12 at 03:05 PM ET

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I don’t understand why people are surprised by Carkner’s lack of strong suspension. 1 game is more than he would have gotten from any other disciplinarian. All he did was what Boyle did in the previous game. Only difference were his gloves were off and his purpose was teaching a bully a lesson, where Boyle’s purpose was bullying a star player…because that player is better and smaller.

Shanahan has bosses. His bosses have given him a mandate. His mandate is to come down on elbows to the head, shoulders to the head, stick infractions to the head and boards. His mandate is not to come down on fighting, punching, and especially not to come down on guys who respond to bullies who punch guys for no reason by punching them. When that’s his mandate, you can complain. It isn’t his mandate.

Boyle shouldn’t go around being a thug and expect the NHL brass to be outraged when he receives the exact same in turn from a bigger badder thug. He got nothing more or less than what he asked for. Don’t like being punched in the face in surprise attacks? Quit punching people in the face in surprise attacks. At least Carkner had a valid motive and gave Boyle a warning at the faceoff. Boyle offered Karlsson no such courtesy and had no such motive.

Posted by larry from pitt on 04/16/12 at 03:52 PM ET

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His mandate is not to come down on fighting, punching

Posted by larry from pitt on 04/16/12 at 02:52 PM ET

This is my problem with the whole thing.  He doesn’t come down on Weber for a blatant infraction.  The next game starts with several altercations, including a retaliation against Weber. 

He doesnt come down on Boyle, and the next game there is violent retribution against Boyle.

I’m not trying to defend Boyle, just pointing out that the suspensions, and lack there of, seem to encourage retaliation and vigilante justice.

Posted by jwad on 04/16/12 at 04:10 PM ET

Mike from Austin's avatar

a punch is a fight regardless of whether the gloves stay on.

I’d go so far as to say that fighting majors no longer have to be shared. You throw a gloved punch at a guy in a scrum and he doesn’t retaliate? You sit 5 for fighting and he doesn’t.  Since he didn’t fight, you also get an instigator.

I think that this is a great point, and that is how it should be.

I don’t get the Carkner ruling. He should’ve been suspended for the rest of the series.

But one thing I don’t agree with is what Boyle did when Carkner assaulted him. Carkner did give Boyle a couple seconds to get his shit together to fight back or put up a defense. Boyle knew even before that game started that he would most likely have to answer for him roughing up Karlsson. Whether you agree with it or not, when you do something like what Boyle did in game 1, the other team usually will make you answer for it by fighting you. Bertuzzi did it with Weber, and Weber fought back; Weber knew that it was coming and he got it over with. Whether you agree with these more or less pre-arranged fights or not, I think it is better to get it out of the way quickly in the first period with a good clean fight and settle it rather than not get it out of the way and let things boil as the game goes on which inevitably leads to multiple players taking multiple shots at the guy they intended to settle a score with(Boyle and Weber in this case). That’s how guys get hurt and sometimes lumberjacked in the head from behind. A quick fight up front settles it, and it should be done and forgotten after that and the game should go on.

Boyle either didn’t want to have to face the music, or wanted to play pest to Carkner by not putting up any defense. Carkner assaulted Boyle, but he did give him time to fight back or at least put up a defense. He chose to keep his hands at his side, and Carkner didn’t care and started wailing on him. Boyle’s avoidance probably made the situation worse and probably caused Carkner to get pissed at Boyle for not answering to his punishment like a man, and that made Carkner continue pummeling him even after he fell to the ice.

Its very similar to the Bertuzzi-Moore incident, in which Moore kept avoiding what he knew was coming, refused to face it, and then Bertuzzi went ahead and lost it.

It doesn’t excuse or mitigate Carkner’s actions at all. Whether you agree with the principle of defending your teammate and avenging what happened to him or not, and whether you agree with Carkner being out there for the sole purpose of starting an altercation or not, if Boyle had just faced the music right off the bat and got it over with it wouldn’t have resulted in such an ugly incident.

I don’t like the vigilante justice that Carkner carried out, or Bertuzzi to Moore. It just seems like these things turn out nasty because the guy who knows he is going to have to face the music refuses to do so or actively avoids it. Had Boyle just put up a little bit of a defense or some semblance of a scrum we wouldn’t be having this discussion. Since settling scores on the ice and avenging a teammate will never be going away in this game, its always going to happen. The league isn’t going to take that out of the game. And it just seems that if a guy faces up to what’s coming, things are better off and things get diffused.

Posted by Mike from Austin on 04/16/12 at 04:30 PM ET

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Posted by jwad on 04/16/12 at 03:10 PM ET

the NHL’s had some problems with vigilante justice in their history. But those are usually isolated incidents a few years apart. Can’t really base general policy on outlier incidents, especially when the stuff in question can have positive impact on your sport’s financial health. It would be like banning beer from a bar and grill because a drunk robbed it once.

If these vigilante incidents are bad enough to end up on CNN, then and only then do they become a problem that affects the bottom line. Otherwise, they actually drive ratings and ticket sales up. You can debate the dangers of looking the other way on this stuff, but that’s almost a separate concern with the big, existential problem that hurts league growth, Shanahan’s problem to solve, which is…


Too many guys that drive interest in the sport are missing too much time from the same injury.

Not injustice. Not what’s right. Not what non-viewers think of the sport’s barbarity. Not what makes Damien Cox or Adam Proteau mad, simply: too many guys that drive interest in the sport are missing too much time from the samem career-threatening injury.

I’m sure they’ve done the math on what illegal action has the highest probabilities of putting the players on LTIR with concussions. I know this, not only because Bettman has made oblique references to data on the topic, but because there’s a definite heirarchy in terms of how serious they decide offense X is, which is

1. Leaping elbow to the head
2. Elbow to the head
3. Leaping shoulder to the head
4. Board
5. Shoulder to the head
6. anything that isn’t one of these things

Stick infractions, either tend to be up there with 1 or down with 6 (lots of different types of stick fouls, some very, very dangerous, some not dangerous at all).

Fighting, punching, scrums, jumping people (etc) just don’t affect gate receipts and TV sales negatively because the odds of someone missing time from them is much lower than anyone experiencing 1 through 5 as a recipient. I’m not going to look it up just now, but, I think, Stanford did a long-term study on the effects of rough-housing in hockey and the concussions they produced (included unreported concussions). The odds of getting a concussion in a fight were lower than from receiving a clean bodycheck. The league just doesn’t see what carkner did as a problem because the odds of losing money from it are almost nothing.

Posted by larry from pitt on 04/16/12 at 04:39 PM ET

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Fighting, punching, scrums, jumping people (etc) just don’t affect gate receipts and TV sales negatively because the odds of someone missing time from them is much lower than anyone experiencing 1 through 5 as a recipient. I’m not going to look it up just now, but, I think, Stanford did a long-term study on the effects of rough-housing in hockey and the concussions they produced (included unreported concussions). The odds of getting a concussion in a fight were lower than from receiving a clean bodycheck. The league just doesn’t see what carkner did as a problem because the odds of losing money from it are almost nothing.

I think the problem i see is that in the Weber, Carkner did, is that it wasnt a fight between two willing combatants.  They were one sided assualts.  And your right that concussions may occur less frequently from fights, however, there have been several recently.  Lilja missed an entire year, and there is mounting evidence about the long term damage from fighting for the health of players. Last off season was tragic in that regard.

I just can not comprehend how anyone thinks that you can make any real progress on “headshots” while you allow players to pummel eachother with their fists, or smash someones head into the glass, as long as its not part of a hockey play, and not face any real penalty.

But, whether or not fans are bothered by the violence, you definitely have a point about the financial aspects.  The NHL home page was covered with the “Tensions Mounting” in the Pens Flyers series all last night and this morning.  Its obvious they are trying to play up the “drama” that has resulted.

I thought playoff hockey had enough drama with out this garbage

Posted by jwad on 04/16/12 at 05:04 PM ET

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and there is mounting evidence about the long term damage from fighting for the health of players. Last off season was tragic in that regard.

Ah, but is there? We’ve got three hockey players testing positive for CTE. Two fighters (both were alcoholics and drug addicts) and one non-fighter (who was neither) manifested brain damage. A couple other fighters were tested around the time Boogaarde was. Never got an announcement, so I assume they were clear. Does fighting in ice hockey drive this disease more than just playing it? Don’t know. Jeremy Roenick’s a whole lot punchier than Jay Caufield, Nick Kypreos or Stu Grimson. He has a fraction of their fights and a whole Hell of a lot more time on ice carrying the puck, meaning he received more clean hits. I know one former Penguins who is widely thought to have this disease. He also fought a fraction of the time the “goons” I mentioned have


I just can not comprehend how anyone thinks that you can make any real progress on “headshots” while you allow players to pummel eachother with their fists, or smash someones head into the glass, as long as its not part of a hockey play, and not face any real penalty.

As a society we have a problem understanding that road rage kills more people than terrorism. Have to look at the data.

Two guys duking it out in bare-kuckled brawls or one guy jumping another seems to make sense as more dangerous than 10 players throwing tons of legal checks playing 5 on 5 hockey. But that doesn’t mean it is. If the league keeps looking the other way on the type of thing Carkner did, I have to assume the numbers say it isn’t all that big a deal, most of the time.

Posted by larry from pitt on 04/16/12 at 05:40 PM ET

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Patrick has a tremendous passion for hockey. Besides covering the Rangers and the NHL for Kukla's Korner, you can also find Patrick's work over at Sportsnet.ca, The Red Light District Hockey Blog, NHL Home Ice, and Liam Maguire's Ultimate Hockey web site.

Prior to writing for the above mentioned outlets, you could find Patrick's musings at hockey web sites/outlets such as TheHockeyNews.com, TheFourthPeriod.com, Spector's Hockey, Hokeja Vestnesis, Blueshirt Bulletin, SNYRangersBlog.com and many more.

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