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Brendan Shanahan No Better Than Colin Campbell

from Adam Proteau of The Hockey News,

When the NHL replaced chief disciplinarian Colin Campbell with Brendan Shanahan last spring and gave him the reassuring title of senior vice-president, player safety, I really wanted to believe things were going to change. But we’re nearly halfway through the 2011-12 season – and the further we get into it, the clearer it is that Sheriff Shanny’s brand of justice is closer to Blazing Saddles comedy than Walking Tall inspirational tough guy Buford Pusser.

Never was that clearer than after the suspension lowered upon Blackhawks agitator Daniel Carcillo was announced Wednesday. For drilling Oilers defenseman Tom Gilbert into the end boards – injuring Gilbert’s knee in the process – Carcillo received a seven-game suspension. Now, that may sound like a decent number of games, especially considering the longest suspension Shanahan has levied was an eight-gamer on Columbus defenseman James Wisniewski.


added 3:03pm,

But what troubles me is that if, as league disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan told us early in this season, one of his main mandates as prescribed by the league’s GMs was to weed out the guys who don’t learn their lesson, why are we still seeing single-digit suspensions? For me this is where the league says one thing but does another. Carcillo is a marginal player at best, and his hit on Tom Gilbert was dangerous, so why not give him 10 games? Why not 20?

-Scott Burnside of ESPN where he and Craig Custance address this topic...

Filed in: NHL Teams, NHL Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink


phillyd's avatar

I’m sorry, I’m for Carcillo getting more than what he got, but to compare what he did to Artest going into the stands to start fighting with a fan is a lot over the top.

Posted by phillyd from Southern New Jersey on 01/05/12 at 06:29 PM ET

Hank1974's avatar

Awesome article.
I’m glad a big voice finally printed what we’re all thinking.

I’m starting to blame Shanny (and even Colin) less and less.
It’s clear the owners/GM’s don’t want big suspensions.
And it’s because, just as Adam points out, that star players can be just as dirty.

So if a hard standard is established, this means guys like Ovie or Sid could be sat for 10 games at a time - which would not be acceptable.

Everyone in the front office is responsible for the mess we see on the ice.
I’m now convinced that a death or paralysis is necessary for true change to occur.

Posted by Hank1974 on 01/05/12 at 07:12 PM ET

w2j2's avatar

Shanny, like Soupy was, is in a no-win job.
Half the people will always disagree with him

Posted by w2j2 on 01/05/12 at 07:48 PM ET


Half the people will always disagree with him

mainly because we all live in a county where the people are never happy with 1 person weilding that much power.

this should never have been a 1 person job.

Posted by gretzky_to_lemieux on 01/05/12 at 07:54 PM ET


Things Proteau didn’t think through to well… Wiz makes about 8 times more money than Carcillo, so the fine is relative to what he makes, aka, it hurt him just as much, if not more, than Wiz.

I’m not defending the hit, Carcillo should be suspended, especially because he does this shit all the time, but at least a check is a hockey play. Wiz’s penchant for elbowing people in the head is not even close to a hockey play. Did Carcillo intend to injure? Maybe, it is more likely he was trying to put the hurt on the guy, not to injure him, or maybe he disguises it well and really wants to put guys in the hospital. Was it a bad decision, yes.

Wiz throwing a flying elbow to the head of Seabrook who had not touched the puck and was no longer involved in the play? Thats not a try to put the hurt on someone play, thats an intent to injure, no other point in doing it. Wiz’s two suspensions for not bj related things were both very much retaliatory, meaning he meant to hurt that particular person. Carcillo had no beef, he just wanted a big hit and made a big mistake. Which one is premeditated? Which one deserves more of a penalty?

Should Carcillo have gotten more games? I think so, but not because of the arguments Proteau makes.

Posted by pstumba on 01/05/12 at 08:30 PM ET

Forlorn in VA's avatar

...what we’re all thinking.
Posted by Hank1974 on 01/05/12 at 04:12 PM ET

Not everyone agrees with this article, or thinks like you do.  Please stop speaking for me, I have my own voice.

I have some major problems with this article.  Comparing what Carcillo did and his suspension to what happened at the palace and the punishment a basketball player received is ridiculous.  Apples to oranges.

Posted by Forlorn in VA on 01/05/12 at 10:36 PM ET


I have some major problems with this article.  Comparing what Carcillo did and his suspension to what happened at the palace and the punishment a basketball player received is ridiculous.  Apples to oranges.

I agree that the NBA comparison is bunk.  But I feel like taking that part of the article away, he has a valid point.  The suspensions need to be handled better.

Posted by gretzky_to_lemieux on 01/05/12 at 10:46 PM ET


My only issue is going easy on Wizniewski. He is a pure headhunter.  The Seabrook hit should have resulted in a lifetime ban, and the Clutterbuck one was close, and he said he’d do it again.  And did Proteau just ask, “haven’t we all wanted to offer Avery a BJ”?  (Not sure what else Wiz’s “lewd gesture may have meant).

Posted by Guerin'sBackcheck on 01/05/12 at 10:51 PM ET


Hank I usually agree with you on a lot of things but when is the responsibility put on the player rather than everyone else? Carcilo is a dirty player, we all know that, the onus should be on the player making the hit, and he clearly slowed down to make the hit on purpose. Should the suspension been longer? Perhaps, but comparing a hockey boarding call to a basketball player starting a fight in the stands is laughable. Apples to oranges.

While we’re at it why don’t we take hitting out of the game altogether? Not to quote Mike Millbury on anything since everyone and their mother hates him, but stop being a mamby pamby seriously.

Posted by Realmk on 01/05/12 at 10:57 PM ET

Hank1974's avatar

Perhaps, but comparing a hockey boarding call to a basketball player starting a fight in the stands is laughable. Apples to oranges.

I agree. But I don’t think Proteau was trying to compare the two infractions persay.

I think he’s simply pointing out that the NBA had no problem laying down a HUGE suspension and it’s changed Artest.
Prior to his brawl in the stands, the dude was dropping technicals as much as he was pulling down rebounds.
So in that regard, if Shanny gave Carcillo what he deserved then perhaps he wouldn’t do this again.
Carcillo is a multiple, multiple offender and this was a very dangerous hit. He should have gotten a lot more than 7 and perhaps if he did, say 20 games, it would send a far clearer message that this won’t be tolerated.
But what it shows is you can go ahead and nearly kill someone 6 or 7 times before you get any real suspensions.

Regarding hitting, I’m not against hitting as long as it’s clean and not borderline criminal.
I look at MMA and see that they took out soccer kicks, knees to the head (when the opponent is down or on one knee) and 12-to-6 elbows.
Why is that? Some might say “This is a fight, let everything go”, but there are limits to what the human body can sustain or what the average fan can process.
Having a nice clean, open ice hit to someone’s chest is welcome. But I don’t want to see the kinds of hits that Torres and Carcillo administer on a nightly basis.
There’s nothing entertaining about seeing a guy get slammed into the boards and writhing in pain, or someone being taken to the quiet room and then put on the shelf for 10 months.

What makes me laugh is that I’ve seen more fights started over clean hits than dirty ones.
With Shanny’s pathetic suspensions, and players tendancies to remove clean hits from the game, it seems all that’s left is dirty hits.

If that makes me a mamby pamby, then I’m fine with that label.
And I don’t have a doubt in my mind that in the next 5 years major changes will be made because someone is going to get seriously, seriously hurt and then when everyone sees how great hockey can look when it’s cleaned up, perhaps everyone will agree that this change is a welcome one and was long overdue.

Posted by Hank1974 on 01/06/12 at 12:44 AM ET

Nathan's avatar

Obviously there is always debate about any hit, even the ones where the vast majority of people agree on what it should be and what the punishment was.

Overall, I think Shanny had been a dramatic improvement over Campbell. The transparency alone makes a world of difference, and on a couple videos, the explanations actually changed my mind and led me to agree with the decision.

But the Carcillo suspension is relatively soft given the guy’s history. I can see the point someone made above about how Carcillo’s play was at least a situation where you could see a body check being valid, whereas Wizniewski’s elbow as just plain absurd and irrelevant to the play on the ice. But even with all that said, I still find the Carcillo judgment to be markedly light, and I think that this is the first incident most people can widely agree is a black mark on Shanahan’s record.

It isn’t right to get pissed and say the guy is bad at the job because of this decision. More importantly, what will happen when Shanahan is inevitably faced with a similar repeat offender later in the season? That’s the test I’m waiting for…

Lastly, it would be nice if Shanahan added some more transparency in this case. He shouldn’t have to fully justify all his decisions in the public eye, but in this case it would at least be good to get some more details as to why he felt this repeat offender only deserved 7 games while another deserved 8.

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 01/06/12 at 12:04 PM ET


More importantly, what will happen when Shanahan is inevitably faced with a similar repeat offender later in the season? That’s the test I’m waiting for…

Why is that more important than the three times he’s already had the chance to send a message to repeat offenders and has failed to do so?

Carcillo was suspended for the third time in less than a year, and his suspension was 7 games.
Andy Sutton and Rene Bourque each suited up for six games after their suspensions before getting suspended again.

How many chances does Shanahan get to send a message?  Seems to me that by not handing out any message-sending suspensions he’s sending out the wrong message.

Posted by Garth on 01/06/12 at 03:35 PM ET


There is a comparable to the Artest suspension, from last year.  Rypien grabbed a fan and shook him by the collar.  He got 6 games.  I was guessing 20.  Pretty good example of Proteau’s point that the NBA has more stomach to actually get something done.

Posted by Guerin's Backcheck on 01/06/12 at 06:00 PM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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