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Obligatory Shea Butter fined for hit on Zetterberg soapbox post

Updated with Roenick reaction at 11:55 PM: I am admittedly not up to full speed (sorry) and not swimming in commentary for the Wings’ and out-of-town press like 55 feet of Lake Superior water after jumping in off the end of a 2,700-foot-long pier (which is actually a nice feeling, and I miss it), so I can’t claim to have my pulse on the hockey world’s reaction to what I will suggest is a surprising $2,500 fine to Shea Weber for introducing Henrik Zetterberg’s face to the end boards at the end of last night’s 3-2 loss (and if you missed it, Paul Gaustad’s slashing match with Pavel Datsyuk, which resulted in Todd Bertuzzi delivering what Barry Trotz described as a “haymaker,” was just as vicious)...

But I feel that it’s necessary to provide something of a counterpoint to the Chief while sticking my still-re-acclimating and not insubstantially-sized nose into the discussion:

Given the circumstances as an end-of-game altercation, given Weber’s relatively clean reputation and given this bluntly-worded statement from the “Department of Player Safety,” we at least know that the NHL very honestly and openly admits that, in the playoffs, even when Jeremy Roenick goes apesh*t over something, there simply is a different and higher standard for player suspensions in the playoffs, and that injuries or the lack thereof play significant roles in the DPS’s decision-making process:

Nashville Predators defenseman Shea Weber has been fined $2,500, the maximum allowed under the Collective Bargaining Agreement, for delivering a blow to the head of Detroit forward Henrik Zetterberg in Game 1 of the teams’ Western Conference Quarterfinal series in Nashville on Wednesday, April 11, the National Hockey League’s Department of Player Safety announced today.

The incident occurred at 20:00 of the third period. Weber was assessed a minor penalty for roughing.

“This was a reckless and reactionary play on which Weber threw a glancing punch and then shoved Zetterberg’s head into the glass,” said NHL Senior Vice President of Player Safety and Hockey Operations Brendan Shanahan. “As is customary whenever Supplemental Discipline is being considered, we contacted Detroit following the game and were informed that Zetterberg did not suffer an apparent injury and should be in the lineup for Game 2.

“This play and the fine that addressed it will be significant factors in assessing any incidents involving Shea Weber throughout the remainder of the playoffs.”

The fine money goes to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.

What’s left unsaid is equally obvious: had Zetterberg not boarded Weber, albeit without the same kind of force that Weber delivered to Zetterberg’s head, prior to the altercation played a role in the decision-making process as well, providing Weber with something of an “out” as his actions were not exactly unprovoked. They were as DPS suggests, reactionary.

So what does this indicate about the integrity of the NHL’s DPS or Shanahan? That they’re going to be consistent and follow the standard applied by Colin Campbell in that some games, namely playoff ones, are “more equal” than others when it comes to suspending players for any length of time, and while that may annoy Wings fans like you or me, that’s just the way things go when you’re talking about suspending a player 1 or more of a maximum of 28 games as opposed to 1 or more of a maximum of 82 games.

The rules are different in the playoffs, and just as we witnessed on Wednesday, while the referees may choose to impose stricter standards of enforcement in terms of minor penalties when Gary Bettman is in the house and the Detroit Red Wings are playing (so everybody “gets the message”), the DPS is burdened by its history, and its history basically indicates no concussion or decapitation sans provocation, no suspension. That’s how it works.

Just as importantly, as Wings coach Mike Babcock told the Wings’ press corps, Detroit has neither the discretionary personnel nor the luxury of throwing a game via a major penalty and/or suspension taken for intent to injure Weber for the sake of revenge, and that’s simply not how they play, so we should not expect anything more than perhaps a few extra shoves with Weber in a scrum—perhaps from Zetterberg himself—and what the Wings hope to accomplish in a relentless but clean attempt to establish a harder, nastier and more physical but legal forechecking presence in Nashville’s zone, greater engagement in terms of physicality thanks to a now-palpable hate factor, and hopefully more traffic win front of and perhaps occasional contact with Pekka Rinne as Detroit has to match or exceed Nashville’s net-front presence and layers of screening players to beat a goalie who will stop every shot that he sees.

There will be no vigilante justice, there will be no gratuitous fight, there will be no purposeful intent to injure aside from the fact that in the playoffs, players do in fact hit to hurt, not just make their opponents sore, and as we all know, while the Wings will not give an inch, they just aren’t built to engage in a slug-fest unless you call a slug-fest baiting opponents into losing their better judgment and resolve by a deftly-applied jab back in a scrum or three and capitalization upon the power play.

That’s how they roll, for better or worse, and the fine on Weber really goes above and beyond anything that I thought the NHL would give Weber for a hit that did not result in an injury. It’s not what you or I want to hear—I will readily admit that as a very subjective Red Wings fan, I wouldn’t mind seeing Weber spitting a few teeth out of his mouth after a donnybrook, because I’m as human and partisan as you are—but that’s how it’s going to go.

One more thing: regarding Weber and Trotz’s comments from last night/ Trotz wouldn’t have been doing his job if he did anything other than to deflect blame from his player and to attempt to suggest that something the other team did was worse. Coaches don’t have to tell the truth during the playoffs: their job involves protecting their team’s best interests, lobbying the refs and the NHL and doing their best to protect their players. I don’t like what he said, but I didn’t expect anything different.

I’m very glad that Zetterberg’s helmet did its job in breaking to absorb the catastrophic impact instead of transferring the energy of the blow to Zetterberg’s head, too. I think he may have sold more than a few Warrior helmets by emerging relatively unscathed.

Update: Here’s Jeremy Roenick’s take:

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Comments

Avatar

I don’t expect, nor would I want, the Red Wings to retaliate with dirty play. I know we have Todd Bertuzzi, but unleashing him to Steve Moore someone would cast a blemish on this team that we wouldn’t lose for a decade.

That isn’t the Wings and I don’t want it to be the Wings.

I wouldn’t mind if Bertuzzi or Abdelkader or Ericsson were to square off in honest fisticuffs with Weber.

But the bigger issue is this: Players should be responsible to defend themselves and respond to checks. To some slashing and hocking and holding and cross checking. Sometimes even getting in a fight. They SHOULD stand up for themselves in those situations.

But cheap shots and getting your head slammed into the boards from behind where plays could get seriously hurt (regardless of whether or not they are hurt) ?The “retaliation” should come in the form of meaningful discipline from the league. it didn’t here, and it’s sad state of affairs.

Posted by Mike on 04/12/12 at 08:11 PM ET

MOWingsfan19's avatar

Fair enough George.. but basing judgement on the outcome versus intent on plays like that is BS. So the big slug didn’t break Z’s neck, but his intent was no worse that what Bert did to Steve Moore IMO.

Posted by MOWingsfan19 from I really like our team on 04/12/12 at 08:13 PM ET

Behind_Enemy_Lines's avatar

So with this logic, a player should be able to take off his skate and throw it into the opposing bench, and as long as it only hits someone in the helmet and causes no harm, the player should just be fined. Not a good way to handle things in my opinion.

Posted by Behind_Enemy_Lines from the Big House,January1,2013. on 04/12/12 at 08:23 PM ET

MoreShoot's avatar

There is only one problem with the argument: it fails the “what if it was Crosby” test.

Posted by MoreShoot on 04/12/12 at 08:32 PM ET

Joe Z.'s avatar

Glad to hear that you’re doing better. Hope you return to full speed too, can’t imagine the playoffs without your coverage.

The biggest issue I have with he leagues decision, is the message it sends to kids, this wasn’t a hockey play at all, that was as vicious as taking your stick and twohanding it in someones face.  Z was simply lucky that nothing happened. His carrer, shortly his future depended on sheer luck. So for me the message is, in the playoffs it doesn’t matter if you tried to injure someone, you only get punished if you succeed, so give it a shot,  you chances are 50-50. I wouldn’t be suprised if this is a factor in Lidström’s offseason-decision, this is a league where dangerous actions aren’t sanctionized come playoff time. Would you want to play in such a league? Is it worth your health? And you know that Z’s status isn’t determined yet, concussions are a bitch, and can show it’s teeth when you least expect it.

Posted by Joe Z. from Austria on 04/12/12 at 08:32 PM ET

Avatar

Any video on Bert blasting Gaustad?

Posted by Malik_is_Alive on 04/12/12 at 08:40 PM ET

NIVO's avatar

For just the dainty sum of $2500, you too can have a memorable moment in the NHL playoffs. Pure hogwash. And im done with it.

Now, I REALLY hope the Wings come together as a group and feed off of this. This is the best thing they can possibly do. Get ‘em back on the ice with their play and nothing else. Don’t give that crowd or team the dignity of a fight in their building. They don’t deserve the entertainment value it could have. Again, just show ‘em up on the ice and out play them. Take 1 away and come home to 2 wins. I thought we were never outplayed at all. I liked our PK, and we got 2 PP goals. Sloppy, awkward goals but who cares. It all adds up on the board right?


I do have a concern about officiating though. Will we see in game 2 the exact opposite of game 1? If Gary, ass, isn’t in attendance will the refs relax too much and not call things that ARE worthy of a call? And in saying as much, will this lead to some serious harm to someone? Lets hope not, I don’t wanna see a person from either team hurt in a way such as that. Good competitive play is what we all want and nothing more(ok we want wins hehe).

And should someone get Kronwalled(mind you a 100% clean hit not leaving his feet) what will come of it? Does Nashville go after a guy who just put out a clean hit? Lets wait and see. Anyone thinking the Pens/Flyers series was gonna be ugly, better watch our series instead. Go Wings! Game On!

Posted by NIVO from underpants gnome village on 04/12/12 at 08:40 PM ET

Avatar

I wouldn’t mind if Bertuzzi or Abdelkader or Ericsson were to square off in honest fisticuffs with Weber.

I agree with your overall sentiments, but I don’t agree with this statement for one reason: Andreas Lilja.

We don’t need that situation with any of our players at this time of year.

Posted by Seaner from San Jose on 04/12/12 at 08:44 PM ET

sjketcheson's avatar

Fair enough George.. but basing judgement on the outcome versus intent on plays like that is BS. So the big slug didn’t break Z’s neck, but his intent was no worse that what Bert did to Steve Moore IMO.

Posted by MOWingsfan19 on 04/12/12 at 06:13 PM ET

Indeed.

Posted by sjketcheson from the floor of the Hasek on 04/12/12 at 08:50 PM ET

Rdwings28's avatar

sorry George, dear friend, wrong. The intent was malicious as hell.  Oh ok so , Rules are these rules for 82 games, and these rules are these rules for the post season, but these rules are sort of these rules for both,, but sometimes these rules which aren’t for the post season sometimes will be.  good lord, what a POS way to treat a great sport, fine hard working athletes, smart coaches, dedicated trainers, and heavily invested owners. Oh, and the paying fan base.

Posted by Rdwings28 on 04/12/12 at 09:04 PM ET

Avatar

MoreShoot:

Bang on!

Posted by Nat from MTL on 04/12/12 at 09:15 PM ET

scotts0's avatar

Any video on Bert blasting Gaustad?

Posted by Malik_is_Alive on 04/12/12 at 06:40 PM ET

Yeah, I would really like to see this supposed “haymaker” that Bert laid on Gaustad that rivals Weber’s facepalm. 

And should someone get Kronwalled(mind you a 100% clean hit not leaving his feet) what will come of it? Does Nashville go after a guy who just put out a clean hit? Lets wait and see. Anyone thinking the Pens/Flyers series was gonna be ugly, better watch our series instead. Go Wings! Game On!

Posted by NIVO on 04/12/12 at 06:40 PM ET

You better believe that if Kronwall catches someone, every Predator on the ice is going to go for him like a pack of hyenas.

Posted by scotts0 from New York on 04/12/12 at 09:37 PM ET

Avatar

How do I explain to my 7 year old son how this wwf move is only
given a 2 minute minor penalty.
Brendan needs to give his head a shake. Probably concerned about
being called a homer if he did suspend him.  The most interesting comment
on this posting was correct. What if it was the golden boy CROSBY

Posted by dean from van on 04/12/12 at 10:26 PM ET

wedge56's avatar

I visited a couple of Predator boards and over half of the respondents said it was a dirty play and Weber should be suspended. 

When the play is so filthy your own fan base…especially one as stupid as the Pred’s fan base…knows what you did was wrong…then it was wrong.

There is NO reasonable explanation for no suspension except that Gary sent word down from his mouth to where Shanahan was kneeling in front of Bettman and, Shanny said, “GWEANB NBAE.”

I will translate.  Without Bettman’s member in his mouth, what Shanny said was, “Yes, sir.”

Posted by wedge56 on 04/12/12 at 10:31 PM ET

Chet's avatar

unsurprising but disgraceful.

Posted by Chet from twitter: thegansen on 04/12/12 at 10:42 PM ET

Vladimir16's avatar

This should have been a one, maybe two game suspension but it isn’t according to the NHL. What really bugs me and its bothered me since they started using the two ref system. It’s the extreme inconsistency on the ice and now off the ice. I absolutely love hockey and not being able to play it (I tried, I’m too much of a big oaf) I watch as many games as I can. BUT the NHL is blowing this thing and its all on the Board of Governors. They’re the tools who keep renewing Bettmans contract. Feckin tools. I can see a day when I’m done with this league….just like I did with the NBA years ago.

Posted by Vladimir16 from Grand River Valley on 04/12/12 at 10:51 PM ET

Crow's avatar

You wanna know how to get Weber? He puts your star player’s head into the glass, you check them THROUGH the glass. He sends one of yours to the hospital, you Kronwall them and score on the ensuing 2 on 1.  That’s the DETROIT way.

Posted by Crow on 04/12/12 at 11:02 PM ET

ITDeuce's avatar

Fair enough George.. but basing judgement on the outcome versus intent on plays like that is BS. So the big slug didn’t break Z’s neck, but his intent was no worse that what Bert did to Steve Moore IMO.

MO you magnificent bastard.  I agree with this completely.  In fact I was thinking the same damn thing all day.

Posted by ITDeuce from The Sunny High Desert on 04/12/12 at 11:07 PM ET

cementslinger's avatar

Hank is one tough muthafuchre.  Justice would be done when Hank gets a hat trick in game 2.

Posted by cementslinger from Midland MI on 04/12/12 at 11:43 PM ET

HockeyFanOhio's avatar

in the playoffs, even when Jeremy Roenick goes apesh*t over something, there simply is a different and higher standard for player suspensions in the playoffs, and that injuries or the lack thereof play significant roles in the DPS’s decision-making process

George, I understand what you are saying, but the rules are the rules.  Shouldn’t have one set for the regular season and another for the post season.  And this sends the message that you can do whatever you want and as long as no one is injured you can get away with it.  Yes, he would have sat two minutes in the sin bin if it had happened during the game and not after.  But he purposely pulled another players head away from the glass and slammed it hard enough to crack his helmet.  How is that acceptable no matter what time of year?

Posted by HockeyFanOhio from Central Ohio on 04/12/12 at 11:53 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

Everybody,

I’m not trying to get all Drew Sharpy or something. I’m as upset about what was obviously a vicious intent to injure play as you are…I cheer for this team and it hurts to see players get hurt.

What I am trying to say is that yes, there is a double standard in terms of playoff officiating, and given the circumstances, this was, as much as it sucks big, hairy, sweaty donkey balls, probably the best outcome we could have hoped for from Shanahan, Kris King, Mike Murphy, Rob Blake, Chairman Mao and Deputy Bill.

I’m also asking that we not go apesh*t over the fact that nobody on the Wings’ roster plans on dislocating Weber’s upper jaw in retaliation.

This isn’t right or fair from a Wings fan or hockey fan’s perspective. It actually sucks and blows at the same time. But given the NHL’s playoff track record, it is a predictable result.

And if you have a North American IP address , go to the original Weber hit thread on TMR and watch the CBC’s video. It shows the Gaustad dust-up.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 04/13/12 at 12:52 AM ET

Avatar

nobody on the Wings’ roster plans on dislocating Weber’s upper jaw in retaliation[/i

Of course, not. Dislocation would be over the edge. Shanny said that one should stay on the edge, not over. RW just need some boys who will always be boys, you know, for 2,500 bucks. How come that other teams always have them and we don’t?

Posted by Alex on 04/13/12 at 01:32 AM ET

DrewBehr's avatar

George - I completely understand and respect your logic and explanation, but how is this “slap on the wrist” fine justified when Bitz gets suspended 2 games for boarding?

Posted by DrewBehr from The Mitten on 04/13/12 at 01:37 AM ET

Avatar

George - I completely understand and respect your logic and explanation, but how is this “slap on the wrist” fine justified when Bitz gets suspended 2 games for boarding?

Posted by DrewBehr from The Mitten on 04/12/12 at 11:37 PM ET

LA guy was injured, Z was not. End of argument, according to NHL Inc. This is barbaric logic but this league is ruled by it. If like me you don’t agree with it, then do not support this league, do not buy their product, boycott them.

Posted by Alex on 04/13/12 at 02:03 AM ET

George Malik's avatar

That’s regrettably the bottom line. Bitz hurt someone and Zetterberg’s helmet cracked but his head wasn’t scrambled, so in the land of DPS decisions, no injury plus a “retribution” play as opposed to a completely unprovoked one = fine, not suspension.

It’s no more hypocritical than anything else we’ve come to expect, and if I had more energy I’d do a roundup of all the pundits saying that the NHL has no backbone for giving Weber a slap on the helmet, if you will, but as I’m still working on it, I put Roenick’s rant up so you can listen to him call the league out.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 04/13/12 at 02:25 AM ET

George Malik's avatar

You won’t like Aaron Ward’s take on the issue, but Bob McKenzie and James Duthie are pissed…

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 04/13/12 at 02:36 AM ET

Avatar

The thing that bothers me most about the NHL’s response is the slap on the wrist fine. If they think it’s an okay thing to slam an opponent’s head into the boards, then don’t do anything! I realize that $2500 is the max fine allowed by the CBA, and so it can’t be higher, but does anyone think $2500 means ANYthing to Shea Weber? It’s an insult to the league, the fans, the Wings, and, yes, the Preds. If the league thinks it was a punishable incident, punish him in a meaningful way. If not, don’t fine him some pocket change and say, “Now go and sin no more”.

Posted by Steve in San Francisco from San Francisco on 04/13/12 at 03:59 AM ET

WestWing's avatar

The H in NHL stands for?

Horseshit?

Hypocrisy?

Headshots?

Life long Red Wing fan, but goddamnit, I’m done with this league.  Done!

Posted by WestWing from Portland, Oregon on 04/13/12 at 05:03 AM ET

George Malik's avatar

The hardest thing about being a hockey fan is sticking with it. Professional sports leagues have the gall to ask you to not only invest your time and energy but also your money in following a for-profit sport which is ran by people who are generally inconsistent in their mores and self-serving, if not wholly corrupt (see: the Board of Governors, Bettman, et. al.), it’s not easy watching teams fail as often as they do in a league where 16 of 30 teams make the playoffs and 1 wins the Cup as teams rise and fall and players come and go, and so many people become resentful of the players for their lifestyles, and while the NHL is, by most standards, squeaky clean in comparison to most every other sports league…

There are creepy people running the sport, creepy people running teams and creepy people making millions of dollars playing the sport, and if we can’t deal with it, sometimes it’s better to leave than to become an embittered, “I love the ‘sport’ but hate the players/league/etc.‘s nature by default” Lambertian self-loather.

This was a poor decision by a league that doesn’t call things the same way in the playoffs, and thankfully Zetterberg is OK because his helmet did what it’s supposed to do when struck catastrophically—it failed, kinda like justice in this case.

That’s not necessarily a reason to sell your Wings stuff on eBay, but if it’s your last straw, it’s your last straw.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 04/13/12 at 06:35 AM ET

Vladimir16's avatar

And if you have a North American IP address , go to the original Weber hit thread on TMR and watch the CBC’s video. It shows the Gaustad dust-up.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 04/12/12 at 10:52 PM ET

Thanks. I’ve been looking for video of that with zero success.

Posted by Vladimir16 from Grand River Valley on 04/13/12 at 10:24 AM ET

Avatar

I find it hard to believe I am in agreement with Jeremy Roenick, but I am. Can’t believe Shannahan dropped the ball on this one. At the start of the season I had so much faith in him. This last failure has withered away that confidence, unfortunately.

Glad Zetterberg is ok but man, I am no fan of Shea Weber now. If that was my first hockey game as a viewer Ièm not sure what I would think.

Posted by Iggy_Rules on 04/13/12 at 10:26 AM ET

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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.