Raffi Torres Gets 25 Game Suspension

Brendan Shanahan delivered a stern message to the rest of the NHL today by suspending Raffi Torres 25 games for his illegal hit to the head of Marian Hossa. It is clear that the league is fed up with guys taking cheap, and dangerous shots at other players.

Most were speculating that Torres might get 7-10 games, but I don’t think anyone expected 25. The 25 game suspension means that Torres is not allowed to play in the next 25 playoff games for Phoenix, if they even play that many. If 25 more playoff games are not played by the Coyotes this year, then the suspension will carry over into next year’s regular season. If the suspension does go into next season, which it most likely will, then he is also ineligible to play in the preseason, but those games do not count towards the 25.

Odds are that no one around the NHL will be complaining about this suspension except for those in the Coyotes’ organization. Torres is a well known, repeat offender that has no respect for, or from his peers around the NHL.

A number of different factors played into determining the length of this suspension. Torres violated 3 rules in delivering the hit itself, all of which should have been penalized, but weren’t. Also, he is a major repeat offender, having received supplemental discipline from the NHL 5 times already in his career.

For those interested, here is Brendan Shanahan’s video explanation for the suspension:

Video

Joel Quenneville Receives $10,000 Fine

Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville was fined $10,000 earlier today for his comments during an interview following Tuesday night’s Game 3 between the Hawks and Coyotes.

When asked about the hit on Marian Hossa, Quenneville responded by saying, “It was right in front of me and all four guys missed it. The refereeing tonight was a disgrace.” It’s hard to blame him for being so upset that no penalty was given to Torres on the play. The closest referee to the play was only about 10 feet away from the hit, and even flinched when Hossa came flying towards him. No penalty was called.

Here’s my question. How is it that Joel Quenneville gets a $10,000 fine for verbally criticizing the referees, but Shea Weber only got a $2,500 fine for slamming Henrik Zetterberg’s head into the glass? Doesn’t what Weber did seem a bit more severe than criticizing some referees?

The fines and suspensions that have been handed out this season by the NHL have rarely made sense. Hopefully next year there will be a bit more consistency coming out of the league’s disciplinary office.

Andrew Shaw Gets 3 Game Suspension

Well, just when you thought Brendan Shanahan couldn’t be much more inconsistent with his handling of suspensions, he pulls this out of his hat. Shanahan announced today that Blackhawks forward Andrew Shaw has been suspended 3 games for his hit on Coyotes goalie Mike Smith on Saturday night.

Here is Shanny’s reasoning:

  • It was a charging penalty.
  • Smith was not injured on the play.
  • Shaw has no history of illegal hits.

That kind of makes you scratch your head, doesn’t it? Smith was NOT injured on the play, and Shaw has NO history of suspensions or fines. So is Shanahan saying that if Smith was injured, or if Shaw did have a history that Shaw would have been suspended basically the rest of the playoffs? This is an absolute joke!

In Game 1 of the Red Wings and Predators series last week, Shea Weber of the Predators punched Henrik Zetterberg in the head, and then grabbed the head of Zetterberg and slammed it into the glass as the third period ended. He received a $2,500 fine, which is basically a tiny slap on the wrist. Isn’t the NHL trying to eliminate head-shots? Isn’t what Weber did as clear of a head-shot as they get? Yet all he got was about as small of a fine that the NHL could possibly hand out, and nothing else.

In Andrew Shaw’s case, he skated in behind the net at full speed to try and get to the puck before Smith could play it, but ended up colliding with Mike Smith. If you watch the replay, Shaw had his head down looking at the puck the entire time. When he got to the puck, his shoulder hit the head of Mike Smith knocking Smith to the ice. Smith stayed down for a couple of minutes before getting back up to play the rest of the game. Meanwhile, Shaw was given a 5-minute charging penalty, a game misconduct, and now a 3-game suspension.

After the game, Mike Smith made a statement through the Coyotes PR department that he was “100 percent.” However, Smith was held out of Monday’s practice for undisclosed reasons, and wouldn’t talk to the media. In the NHL, the only time that a player is allowed to avoid speaking to the media is when the player is under “extreme circumstances.” In this case, the Coyotes made it seem like Smith was having concussion symptoms after all even though they said he was “fine” after Game 2. Today, Smith was back on the ice for practice and is listed as a “game-time decision,” leading most to believe that he will in fact play. The bottom line here is that it seems as though the Coyotes have been milking the system the past few days to try and make it look like Smith did in fact get hurt on the play, all in an attempt to increase Shaw’s suspension length. With that said, Brendan Shanahan stated that “Smith was not injured on the play,” and that factored into the suspension of Andrew Shaw. None of this adds up or makes sense.

Here is my question:

Are players now supposed to stand by and simply watch as goalies go to play pucks in behind the net? Based on the suspension of Andrew Shaw, that sure seems like what Shanahan and the NHL want. Players are going to be scared of trying to play pucks behind the net while the goalie is back there with the fear that they might get suspended if they touch the goalie. Basically, goaltenders are now going to have free reign of the area in behind the net whenever they would like.

Brendan Shanahan has handed out a number of questionable suspensions this year, but none of them have puzzled me more than this one. He better have a new job next season, or else there will be a lot of angry people in the NHL.

Here are the replays of Weber’s “head smashing” and Shanahan’s explanation for his suspension of Shaw:

 

Shanahan’s explanation video

NHL Suspensions

In the dying seconds of Game 1 of the first round between the Nashville Predators and Detroit Red Wings tonight, Nashville captain Shea Weber did one of the most idiotic things he could have possibly done. There’s a good chance that he might even get suspended for it too.

With about 2 seconds left in regulation, and the Predators up 3-2 over the Wings, Shea Weber first punched Henrik Zetterberg of the Red Wings in the back of the head, and then proceeded to grab Zetterberg’s head and slam it into the glass. A penalty was called on the play, but time had already expired. Zetterberg fell to the ice holding his head and stayed down there for a good 15-20 seconds before he finally stood back up. The second I saw this happen, I immediately thought that this play called for a suspension. As it turns out, I’m not the only one.

Following the game, I went onto Twitter and read a bunch of comments made by NHL writers and analysis’. Most of them were agreeing with my opinion in that Shea Weber deserves a suspension. However, one comment by an NHL writer caught my attention. It read something along the lines of, “I don’t think he should be suspended multiple games unless Zetterberg is hurt.” I briefly touched on this topic a while back when writing about Duncan Keith’s suspension, but I am going to talk about it again.

I highly dislike the fact that the lengths of suspensions in the NHL are partially determined by whether or not the victim on the play got hurt. Punish the player who made the hit for the HIT ITSELF, not for the outcome of the hit. An illegal hit is an illegal hit. It’s that simple! The fact that the NHL looks into whether or not the victim of the hit got hurt seems ridiculous to me. A hit that should warrant a one-game suspension might be bumped up to a 2 or 3-game suspension just because the victim on the play got hurt. Look at the hit itself and determine a suspension length based on the hit, nothing else. The victim of an illegal hit could theoretically sit out a game or 2 just to make the hit look worse, in which case the guy who delivered the hit might be suspended for more time than he deserves. The fact that this scenario is even possible seems insane, and it brings me back to my main point: punish a player for the illegal hit that he makes, and not because the victim of the hit got hurt.

After seeing the replay of Weber’s head-smashing a few times now, it clearly demonstrates just what the NHL is trying to take out of the game, which is illegal hits to the head. I believe Weber should get a 2-game suspension for what he did. If he does end up getting suspended, especially for more than one game, then Nashville is going to be in a lot of trouble without him while trying to fend off the Red Wings.

Thanks for reading.

Blackhawks’ Keith Gets 5 Game Suspension

NHL Senior Vice President of Player Safety, Brendan Shanahan, announced this afternoon that Duncan Keith has been suspended for the next 5 games for his elbow to the head on Daniel Sedin. The incident occurred during the first period of Wednesday night’s match-up between the Hawks and Canucks at the United Center in Chicago.

To me, 5 games seems a bit harsh, and I’m not just saying that because I am a Blackhawks fan. After going back and looking at some of the previous incidents that resulted in suspensions of less than 5 games this year, this one seems a bit drastic. Yes, Keith definitely deserved a suspension. There is no doubt about that. I, however, thought that it should have been more along the lines of a 3-game suspension. Here is my reason why:

This past Tuesday night in Dallas, Shane Doan of the Phoenix Coyotes delivered an elbow to the head of Jamie Benn. As the replay shows, Doan clearly intentionally stuck out his elbow to try and make contact with Benn (Video: Doan’s hit on Benn). Only about a week before that, Doan was fined by the NHL for a boarding penalty that he took. For the elbow to the head on Benn, Doan only received a 3-game suspension, even though he is a “repeat offender.” Granted, Jamie Benn did not suffer any injury on the play.

If you watch the replay of Duncan Keith’s hit on Daniel Sedin and compare it to Doan’s hit on Jamie Benn, they are pretty similar incidents (Video: Keith’s hit on Sedin). Yes, Daniel Sedin now apparently has a concussion and Benn does not, but if you are going to give Doan just 3 games for what he did, Keith should have gotten 3 as well; 4 at the most. Also, this is Keith’s first offense, whereas Doan has a history with this stuff.

I dislike the fact that the NHL takes into consideration whether or not the victim was injured in plays like these. Regardless of the outcome of the hit, it’s still an illegal hit! Punish the guys who deliver the hits for the hit itself. Don’t add games onto the suspension if the victim ends up being hurt. I’m not saying that this is the case at all with Daniel Sedin, but what if he and the Canucks are “faking” his concussion? What if they want Sedin to look injured just so that Keith misses a few extra games via his suspension? Again, I am in no way implying that this is what the Canucks are doing, but it is possible that some team could do that in the future. Because of that possibility in and of itself, I don’t think injuries should be taken into consideration when deciding how many games to suspend someone.

I will say again that I totally agree with suspending Duncan Keith, but I think that 5 games is a bit much. Now the Blackhawks are without their best forward, Jonathan Toews, and their best defenseman, Duncan Keith, for the most important stretch of the season. There is still no word on when Toews might return.

Thanks for reading.