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Report- Brendan Smith Suspended

via Pierre LeBrun tweet,

Source: Brendan Smith gets rest of pre-season (3 games) plus 5 reg-season games

added 11:20am,

NEW YORK (September 30, 2011) – Detroit Red Wings defenseman Brendan Smith has been suspended for the remainder of the preseason and five regular-season games, without pay, for an illegal hit to the head of Chicago forward Ben Smith during a preseason game on September 28, NHL Senior Vice President of Player Safety Brendan Shanahan announced today.

Under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, and based on his average annual salary, Brendan Smith will forfeit $23,648.65. The money goes to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.
At 5:26 of the third period, Brendan Smith hit Ben Smith in the head, injuring the Chicago player in the process. Brendan Smith was assessed a match penalty.

Brendan Smith will miss preseason games tonight vs. Toronto, tomorrow night at Toronto and Sunday vs. Pittsburgh. He also will miss five NHL regular-season games.
A full explanation of Shanahan’s decision, complete with video, will be available on NHL.com later today.

added 1:14pm, Shananhan explains the suspension below…


Filed in: NHL Teams, Detroit Red Wings, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: brendan+smith


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OlderThanChelios's avatar

Shanny has lost his mind. Boyes got just a two-preseason-games suspension for a hit that could easily be considered more blatant than what Brendan did.  And Sestito’s two-regular-games suspension was for a far more blatant hit.

This suspension is the type that’s been handed out for an intentional hit to the head by a repeat offender. Shame on you Shanny.

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 09/30/11 at 01:04 PM ET


Wow, twice as many games as Sestito (2.5x as many regular season games).

That is *#$%@& ridiculous.

Overcompensating to show that he’s not going to go easy on his former team?


Posted by Garth on 09/30/11 at 01:06 PM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

This is exactly what I thought he’d do.. not what I think the kid deserved but I saw this coming a mile down the track..

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 09/30/11 at 01:11 PM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

I think you nailed it too Garth, that’s exactly why

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 09/30/11 at 01:13 PM ET

Evilpens's avatar

UMMM ! No If you want head hits & dangerous hits out of the league you have to accept it to your own players too, RW’s fan bitch about Concussions, hits to the head & Matt Cooke & other offenders BUT when it’s one of their own they scream fouls, no fair

Posted by Evilpens on 09/30/11 at 01:17 PM ET


More than I expected, I thought 2 regular season games. The video will be interesting.

Posted by timbits on 09/30/11 at 01:17 PM ET

Forlorn in VA's avatar

Posted by Evilpens on 09/30/11 at 11:17 AM ET

First of all, not all RW fans are bitching.

Second of all, Matt Cooke is a repeat offender, Brendan Smith is NOT.

Finally,  I was expecting 5 - 10 games, so this is not surprising to me.  I think it ups the ante for the next shoulder to the head hit by a repeat offender.  I will not be upset UNLESS a similar hit by a repeat offender is not penalized more harshly.

Posted by Forlorn in VA on 09/30/11 at 01:23 PM ET

mrfluffy's avatar

I’d lie if I wasn’t a bit shocked at the length of the regular season suspension…that said…Smith had to get something. Shanny did go overboard here considering what Sestito did….Sestito is a goon at best and was purposely stupid…Smith is young, inexperienced, and it was an accidental headshot.

Posted by mrfluffy from A wide spot on I-90 in Montana on 09/30/11 at 01:26 PM ET

YzermanZetterberg's avatar

He also will miss five NHL regular-season games.

Might be a dumb question, but since Smith is likely headed for the AHL, will he actually be suspended for five AHL games? Is the suspension just transferred?

Posted by YzermanZetterberg on 09/30/11 at 01:32 PM ET

Paul's avatar

YZ, the AHL Commish can make a ruling on this, and assign a different game amount to the suspension.

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 09/30/11 at 01:34 PM ET

YzermanZetterberg's avatar

Thanks, Paul.

Posted by YzermanZetterberg on 09/30/11 at 01:37 PM ET

tkfergy's avatar

My questions is what happens when he get’s sent down? will he have to serve them when he gets called up?

Posted by tkfergy on 09/30/11 at 01:43 PM ET

Nathan's avatar

Well, I’m a little surprised it is any more than 2 regular season games. Don’t get me wrong—it deserves suspension— but It didn’t look intentional to me, so I expected he’d get the Boyes treatment.

Possible thing to think about—Brendan Smith does have a mediocre record off the ice the last few years. I know that’s not the same thing as on the ice, and I know most of that would’ve fallen under the university’s “jurisdiction,” so to speak. But if there’s one word to describe this hit by Smith it’s “immature,” so it isn’t a stretch if other immature things from his recent past were considered here.

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 09/30/11 at 01:44 PM ET


so it isn’t a stretch if other immature things from his recent past were considered here.

I don’t know, if they’re factoring in anything done away from the game, that’s some trouble.

Where’s the video explanation?  I’m very curious…

Posted by Garth on 09/30/11 at 01:51 PM ET

SandysWingingit's avatar

I had a feeling Shanny might go overboard to dissuade any contention of bias. I’m anxious for the video, too…

Posted by SandysWingingit on 09/30/11 at 01:54 PM ET

w2j2's avatar

Outrageous!  The guy was carrying the puck, he saw the defender, he did a toe drag.  If Smith does not bump him, he has a clean shot for a goal.

As Babcock said, the puck carrier has some responsibility also.

On top of that, the kid is a rooky with no prior suspensions.


Posted by w2j2 on 09/30/11 at 02:02 PM ET


I’m not surprised at the fact of suspension.
There didnt appear to be intent, the opposing player toe dragged himself into a vulnerable position while obviously aware of the hitter, and the hitter had no previous record.
Based on this, the next time matt cooke gives someone a concussion,  it should be an entire season suspension.

Posted by teldar on 09/30/11 at 02:11 PM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

YZ, the AHL Commish can make a ruling on this, and assign a different game amount to the suspension.

I’m not sure what that means, Paul. Are you saying the AHL commissioner can also suspend him for a given number of AHL games in addition to the 3+5 Brendan just got?

And isn’t there some explanation somewhere that tells when and how the regular-season games have to be served? Does he have to serve them before he can be sent down? Or, as others have asked, can he serve them when he’s recalled?

That’s a huge issue for the Wings. If he has to serve them before he’s sent down, the Wings will have to expose either Emmerton of Brunnstrom to waivers in order to get down to the 23-man limit. Neither will clear, and the Wings will lose the guy being put on waivers.

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 09/30/11 at 02:11 PM ET

HockeyTownTodd's avatar

Shanny always mentions if there was an injury on the play.  The fact that Ben Smith was reported as injured probably had something to do with the severity.  Not saying it is right, especially if the injury comes on incidental/accidental contact, but, that is the way he determines the severity, as well as considering past suspensions.
We should not compare similar infractions that do not result in injuries.

Posted by HockeyTownTodd on 09/30/11 at 02:13 PM ET

Paul's avatar

OTC, Yes, the AHL can suspend him for any amount of games.  Not saying they will, they may feel to just let the NHL suspension come into play when Smith is recalled by the Wings.

I would imagine he will remain on the Wings roster for the remaining pre-season games, then sent down.

When/of recalled, he will have to serve the five games, no matter if the AHL suspends him or not, unless somehow the Wing or the PA can challenge the ruling and say he already missed x amount of games in tghe AHL.

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 09/30/11 at 02:16 PM ET

w2j2's avatar

Smart NHL players will start diving every time they are bumped near their head…..

Posted by w2j2 on 09/30/11 at 02:22 PM ET


I feel like its harsh considering what repeat offenders, who had more intent were given.  And that emphasis seemed to be given to players without the puck, or who reasonably shouldn’t be expecting to be hit, in the previous explanations.

But, i’ve felt for a long time that if any progress is to be made in this area, the punishment has to be strong, and has to be based on the action itself, and not on the result, the intent, the history of the players involved etc.  A hit to the head is a hit to the head, period. 

There is no incentive for players to change under the old disciplinary system, where unless you ended the other players season, you probably wouldn’t face any discipline.

If that is what the new standard is going to be, then I’m fine with this suspension.  But i can’t help but feel that this is all going to change once we get a month into the season. And by the time we get to the playoffs, you wont get suspended unless you pull out a gun and shoot someone in the head, and your a repeat offender.

Posted by jwad on 09/30/11 at 02:24 PM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

When/of recalled, he will have to serve the five games, no matter if the AHL suspends him or not…

Thanks, Paul. If that’s true, it’s a huge relief. The length of the suspension is ridiculous enough. To lose a player on top of it would be a travesty.

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 09/30/11 at 02:32 PM ET

HockeyTownTodd's avatar

To lose a player on top of it would be a travesty.
Posted by OlderThanChelios

The plan is to carry 7 D.  If one gets put on IR, they can recall Smith and let him serve his suspension as the 7th D.

Posted by HockeyTownTodd on 09/30/11 at 02:45 PM ET

Coastal Coyote's avatar

Elsewhere I saw a very good comparison posted.  The comparison was between the Brendan Smith hit, and a hit Vladimir Konstantinov put on Claude Lemieux many years ago.  Both Red Wings were in a position to make a hit on a player from a similar angle.  Smith kept himself upright, led with the shoulder, and crushed Ben Smith.  Konstantinov lowered himself slightly, led with his hip, and up-ended Lemieux in spectacular fashion.

Both Wings put an end to the rush by the opposition, but even by today’s standards Vlady’s hip check would be considered a clean hit while Smith has been suspended for a hit to the head of an opponent.

It may take some time for folks to adjust to the implementation/application of the rule regarding hits to the head.  Perhaps players will consider the lost art of the hip check the next time they are faced with hitting an opponent.

Posted by Coastal Coyote on 09/30/11 at 02:51 PM ET

YzermanZetterberg's avatar

When/of recalled, he will have to serve the five games, no matter if the AHL suspends him or not, unless somehow the Wing or the PA can challenge the ruling and say he already missed x amount of games in the AHL.

It would seem that there has to be some kind of appeal process. Otherwise, a player could be suspended X games in the NHL plus X games in the AHL for the same offense. It’s basically like double jeopardy…being tried and punished twice for the same “crime.” I can’t believe the PA would stand for that.

Posted by YzermanZetterberg on 09/30/11 at 02:59 PM ET

Paul's avatar

Shanahan video added.

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 09/30/11 at 03:17 PM ET


Video now out at nhl.com.  As a Red Wing fan I didn’t like to hear the “reckless targeting” point of view, but I can’t really find much logical reason to disagree with it.

Posted by BobTheZee on 09/30/11 at 03:18 PM ET

Kate from Pa.-made in Detroit's avatar

Shanny has to be consistent if he is to be taken seriously.

It is what it is. Lesson learned.

Lets Go Red Wings!!!!!

Posted by Kate from Pa.-made in Detroit on 09/30/11 at 03:26 PM ET

Itrusteddrrahmani's avatar

negligent maybe….not reckless. cmon shanny

Posted by Itrusteddrrahmani from Nyc by way of A2 on 09/30/11 at 03:29 PM ET


Smart NHL players will start diving every time they are bumped near their head….

Well, they already do. But you’re right, w2j2….it’s going to get much worse now. This is going to turn into an epidemic, and it’s going to cost this league some major credibility.

Just wait until fighting is completely banned. We’ll be watching games featuring full rosters of Jiri Hudlers….ahhhhhhhh!!

Brendan Smith shouldn’t have been suspended, imo. I don’t believe that hit was even deserving of a penalty. But a player was injured so I guess a loss of playing time and some lost wages for the guy skating closest to the injured party should really send a message. I mean it’s not like the league is going to totally alienate its’ players, coaches and fans….right?....

Posted by godblender on 09/30/11 at 03:29 PM ET


verb (used with object)
11. to use, set up, or designate as a target or goal.
12. to direct toward a target: The new warheads can be targeted with great precision.
13. to make a target of (an object, person, city, etc.) for attack or bombardment.

To target something is a pretty specific action with a pretty specific goal, and “reckless targeting” is a complete contradiction.  If you target something, you can’t do it recklessly.  You have to wonder why they used the term “targeting the head” in the rule if they’re using it as a catch-all for “any contact with the head”, which is what they’re pretty clearly doing.

Brendan Smith target Ben Smith, but I think it’s hard to argue that he targeted Ben Smith’s head.

Posted by Garth on 09/30/11 at 03:36 PM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

exactly.. you have to be in control out there.. again not surprised and I like Shanny’s evaluation of the hit.. Smith needs to learn from this and become a better player from it.

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 09/30/11 at 03:38 PM ET


Smith needs to learn from this and become a better player from it.

Good point, and the more I think about it the more I realize that this is what they’re doing.  They’re trying to change the way players think about hitting, and to do that you have to punish everyone who connects with the head, whether it was intentional like Wisniewksi or unintentional like Smith (I do hate the use of the word reckless, because implies thoughtlessness and carelessness when I really think Brendan Smith was almost as much a victim of the circumstance as Ben Smith was).  Once you change the way we look at headshots, then you can start differentiating more between the a hit to the head and a headshot.

Posted by Garth on 09/30/11 at 03:44 PM ET

Luongo-is-my-hero's avatar

not much too argue about.  Considering the sentences he has been handing out, I automatically assumed it would be 5-10 games.  Furthermore, the fact that he was injured on the play, and it clearly was a head hit, I don’t see what all the commotion was about.  He possibly might not initially have meant to hit him in the head, but he could have easily moved his body in a way to avoid principle contact with the head.  The head barely moved, so I don’t know how his calculation would be so far off.

Posted by Luongo-is-my-hero on 09/30/11 at 03:44 PM ET

YzermanZetterberg's avatar

It is what it is, but I would argue against Shanahan’s point than Ben Smith didn’t significantly change the position of his head. By suddenly toe-dragging, he slowed his forward progress, thus moving his head back on a horizontal plane from where it would have been. If he doesn’t do that, then Brendan Smith does deliver a full body check. That being said, as others have pointed out, if they’re going to be serious about cracking down on headshots, then every headshot needs to be punished.

Posted by YzermanZetterberg on 09/30/11 at 03:46 PM ET


Explanation’s pretty good. I don’t know for sure that I would have given the same in Shanny’s place, but it’s difficult to say he doesn’t make his case well.

As for the discrepancy between this and the Sestito hit, the Sestito hit was far more stupid of a hit, but a board also has a significantly lower rate of injury to the victim than a lateral headshot, ergo it was a dirtier play, but of a less serious infraction.

And as far as the Boyes hit being worse, just lol.

Posted by steviesteve on 09/30/11 at 03:59 PM ET

TheFreak's avatar

Nice. Brendan is not even in the NHL yet and already he’s on the “watch-list”.

And now, a player just learned how to toe-drag into the zone and be safe, and if any sort of contact with an opponent, the puck carrier will drop like a rock in dramatic fashion and be sure the contact wasn’t missed.

Posted by TheFreak on 09/30/11 at 03:59 PM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

Shanny makes two points that are false.

1. He said that Brendan “missed” his original hit and then “recklessly targeted” Smith’s head. You can’t “miss” something and “target” something else at the exact same time…which is what happened here. Brendan was targeting Smith’s shoulder and he missed (in part because of what Smith did). It was an accidental hit to the head, not a “reckless targeting” of the head. Even the penalty he got during the game was more than he should have.

2. Shanny said that Ben Smith did not “significantly change the position of his head” before the hit. That’s a false argument here because what he did change was the position of his shoulder. That’s what Brendan was “targeting” and when Smith moved it at the last second, Brendan missed his shoulder and hit his head. The hit was every bit as much Smith’s fault as it was Brendan’s fault.

As others have noted, I’m afraid there now will be players who will now use this “technique” to draw penalties by embellishing any missed shoulder hit to make it look like a hit to the head. Shanny just put the NHL at the top of a very slippery slope with this particular ruling.

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 09/30/11 at 04:01 PM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

Here’s what Smith, Holland and Uncle Mike had to say about the suspension. This is from a Ted Kulfan story on the Detroit News site. [Note: It looks like Kulfan wrote this in a hurry because there are a number of typos in the text.]


“Obviously we’re trying to cut down the head hits,” Brendan Smith said. “I thought it (the suspension) was a little steep, but we do want to cut down on the head hits and you never want to see anyone get hurt.

“He made a great move and I was actually trying to catch up. He had a step and it was very fast play, we were going full speed. I was never targeting his head. I feel terrible about the outcome of what happened.”

Ben Smith suffered a concussion and his status is day-to-day.

“I got in touch with him afterward and apologized,” Brendan Smith said. “I had no intention of hurting him at all. I was just trying to play the game and not let him get to the net and score.”

General manager Ken Holland said Brendan Smith will be eligible to play in Grand Rapids, the Wings’ minor-league affiliate, where he was likely headed to begin the season.

“Certainly we expected him to be suspended,” Holland said. “He hit his head. (But) I thought it was a hockey play. He tried to hit his body and he missed the body and hit his head. The suspension is a little stiffer than I would have liked but Brendan will learn from hit and we’ll honor it.

“We think he’s (Brendan Smith) going to be an NHL player, a chance to be a pretty good NHL player, but it’s a process and he has to be patient and this will add to the patience.”

Coach Mike Babcock reiterated Friday he didn’t condone the hit to the head. Babcock added, however, that the puck-carrier in a play such as that needs to be aware of his responsibility and protect himself.

“I thought it was a little extreme, to tell you the truth,” Babcock said of the five-game regular-season suspension.


I have to say that Brendan is actually taking this better than some of us are. smile

I like his maturity, and I love the fact that he can be sent down now and serve the suspension later. And I bet Emmerton and Brunnstrom are pretty happy about that too.

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 09/30/11 at 04:17 PM ET

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