Shanahan Fail: Andrew Shaw Discipline In Limbo

The NHL’s epic disaster discipline czar Brendan Shanahan met with Blackhawks’ rookie Andrew Shaw on Monday afternoon to discuss his hit on Phoenix goalie Mike Smith. After hours of waiting, reports leaked that the NHL wouldn’t rule on the Shaw issue until Tuesday.

Here is why the Blackhawks should have an enormous problem with the league’s approach:

First, let’s look at Smith’s stat line from the game:

Smith never left the ice, and faced 50 shots in over 70 minutes. After the game, Sun-Times reporter Adam Jahns tweeted the following:

So what we’ve established is that Smith never left the ice, played over 70 minutes in the game (and played pretty well), and after the game the Coyotes said he was OK.

But Monday morning, before Shaw met with the league, Smith was one of three players missing from the Phoenix practice.

Now this from Tribune reporter Chris Kuc on Monday evening:

Does nobody see a problem with this approach?

Smith was never subjected to the league-mandated concussion protocol after the hit and never left the game. His performance in the game would indicate to the naked eye that he was mentally stable enough to play well into overtime.

And, after the game, Smith and the team’s officials told the world he was “100 percent.”

But the league will now wait more than 48 hours to see if he can play in the next game to make a ruling?

Brendan Shanahan’s discipline has been as consistent as Stevie Wonder’s handwriting during the postseason, and the decision to discipline the third day after the contact is embarrassing. Not only should the game misconduct penalty already served by Shaw be more than enough, but waiting this long to deal with the issue is just making Shanahan’s inability to act more of a spectacle.

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28 Responses to Shanahan Fail: Andrew Shaw Discipline In Limbo

  1. Zebra Greg says:

    I’ve lost all understanding of how the league considers punishing the players for more than run-of-the-mill penalty issues. Shanahan and his staff of clowns increasingly look like they cannot get it right; they’ve had so much from the past weekend to look at now it seems like they are completely stymied. If Tab’s premise is correct, this lack of action and the reasons behind it is a joke.
    Looking back, I have no issues with Duncs getting suspended although I thought 2-3 games was more reasonable. Shanahan screwed up the Weber situation big time. All kinds of pre-meditated, intentional crap goes on over the weekend; in view of that, if Shaw gets suspended in line with some of that garbage it will be another sign that the NHL is run by a bunch of idiots.

  2. Confused says:

    I agree 100% with Tab and Zebra Greg. Shanny has been very inconsistent. You can’t base the punishment on whether a player is hurt on the play. It’s gonna be based on the intent. Weber – Intent. Shaw – Incidental Contact. Carkner – Intent (1 game was a joke the way be pummelled Boyle)….the list goes on this playoffs but the key is intent. Shanny totally blew it on the Weber call and it has set the tone for the rest of the playoffs. They are doing nothing to deter the malicious attacks in games. Those should be long term suspensions.

  3. Kyle says:

    Blatently picking favorites.

  4. Joe says:

    That’s what happens when the NHL owns the team you’re playing. The blatant favoritism towards the Coyotes is starting to get ridiculous. You think they would be responding the same way if this happened to Crawford instead of Smith? Shaw served his time, he should have gotten at least a 2 minute interference penalty, and you could argue he deserved the major because he did make contact with his head but a game misconduct is ridiculous. Smith flopped like he got shot when it happened, and it looked really scary at first. But then oh what do you know, right when they announce the game misconduct he’s fine. If he is hurt now, the blame should be on the Coyotes medical staff, not Shaw. If Smith does not play tomorrow, I will be fine with a one game suspension. (not because I think it’s fair, but because I would rather face their back-up) BUT I’m gonna have a real problem if after they announce that Shaw is suspended, Smith decides he’s going to play. Either they both play or they both sit. Simple as that.

  5. Brad Stevenson says:

    When situations like these present themselves, almost universally, they result because of a hidden agenda, and this is why they seem irrational or difficult to understand to an outsider.

    I have no idea what the NHL agenda, or Brendan Shanahan agenda is, but likely something else is at play here, as NONE of this makes any sense.

  6. The Molitor Lizard says:

    The Shea Weber play totally derails his credibility. What kind of league can’t make up their mind on something like this? Sure, he may not be a Top 10 player for the Blackhawks but the uncertainty doesn’t need to be there. What the hell is wrong with this league? You have some teams just fighting like idiots and throwing instigating punches and yet Shaw gets a 5 minute major for what is clearly incidental contact.

    To claim there is some kind of pattern or agenda would be false. Not only is there no pattern, rhyme, reason or method to this madness but there is no sense that Bettman has any concern for what is going on either. Any commissioner steps in and makes the decisions that should be made. Sure there should be an attempt to have an independent process but the fact that there is nothing keeping it in check when the OBVIOUS decision is not made, it shows how off-track the league is.

    There is time for discretion and splitting hairs and there is time where an obvious decision should be made. The league needs to get the obvious things right or they will seemingly and literally get everything wrong. Shea Weber walks (or skates more aptly) while there is even a question about Shaw. The NHL is ran by f***-ups.

  7. Jeff says:

    Is our hockey going to disintegrate into the joke of soccer embellishment for the call of a lost leg or integrity . Shaws hit was both unintentional and a brush by felt by a midfielder grabbing his knee in this case his face through the mask and throwing his uncontrollable body around like a fish until the penalty is announced, shanny get it. They do. Shaw 2 minute interference ,Smith 2 minute taking a Dive, 10 minute game to smith and shanny for ruining our sport with this crap.
    I’v been hit, this was a Oscar for the b movies and the hockey gods will not let it stand
    See 5.6 seconds left in the third period , bullshit walks.

    Smith will be in the goal Tuesday. Good!
    He will need his A acting game. To bad- coyotes are better than that!

  8. Glenn says:

    The kernel of this problem started the first time Shanahan tied discipline to the result of the infraction. Penalties are already defined in the rulebook so the only adjudication required is to assess whether there was intent to injure or some other action worthy of additional discipline. There should never have been linkage between the severity of injury and the discipline handed down. Once that precedent was set, the process became arbitrary and subject to gamesmanship.

  9. No Way says:

    Call me heartless but I wanted Smith to get a delay of game.
    I hate this soccer crap.

    If you stop play in ANY sport….you must leave the game. Otherwise you are acting like a clown.

  10. Ross says:

    First of all why doesn’t Bettman decide what the suspensions are? Goodell, Stern, and Selig don’t outsource discipline to former players. Is he too busy not getting the NHL a respectable TV contract?

    As far as Shaw goes the referees made a judgment call. We may disagree with it but they felt that the penalty fit the crime. Moving forward, there is no way the NHL can suspend Shaw while Weber gets to play. Shaw tried to avoid contact with Smith. He was remorseful afterward. He even said it wasn’t his intent to hit him in the first place. I understand a fine because that seems to go hand in hand with game misconducts, but to not allow him to play and to take this long a ruling is outrageous.

  11. wall says:

    The obvious… The teams who have have not won in Playoffs, who have had “Tougher” financial times, and “Superstars” are being favored…

    Yotes winning a series or at least going 7 games brings “success” to the franchise and makes it more marketable!

    Preds- winning a series is good for that team and that market- which has had a weak past in market terms-

    The Hawks, Pens, Wings have had recent success- the NHL wants to grow market and spread “success” around the league!

    This is the same “Blueprint” the NBA used to grow their league– People got tired of seeing Boston vs. LA… If Weber goes out… Wings move on as they almost always do!
    If Shaw sits out… puts Yotes/NHL in a better “marketing” Position. Hawks will sell out next year regardless!

    Like I said before… NHL flopping is becoming NBA like (see game 3 LA/Nucks)… and so is the “Marketing”.

  12. James M says:

    When I saw the hit, I thought Smith embellished massively. He grabbed his mask? And of course, right after Shaw was tossed, he gets up, plays fine, etc. etc.

    Czar is the right word for Shanahan – I’ve lost all respect for him. Inconsistency. He has flip-flopped on both Keith and Shaw. It is absurd. It is amateur. And of course there is no accountability.

    James

  13. Mark Lamont says:

    Case in point,Milan Lucic blatantly runs Ryan Miller,gets a 2 minute minor,Miller is concussed and Lucic was not suspended,and if memory serves,Miller missed quite a few games after that…….

  14. Scott O says:

    You can clearly see that Shaw pulled his shoulder in trying to avoid Smith,I don’t see anything wrong with the contact. If the NHL wants to protect goaltenders don’t let them play the puck behind the net.Goaltenders have the most padding of anyone on the ice if they choose to play the puck then they have the right to get hit.Just my point of view.

  15. Melissa says:

    Even if he isn’t suspended the hawks have still been punished again. They don’t who they are going to dress tonight and what line combos to practice. This ridiculous. The answer should be pretty clear cut. NO SUSPENSION! I don’t understand why a number of Penguins got their decisions announced before Shaw’s. His happened first and to be quite honest the Hawks vs Coyotes game is more important considering that the odds of the Penguins coming back are almost zip while we are in a dog fight. Come on even Tippet said after practice Smith is fine. This is just plain ridiculous. I don’t know what Shanny has against the Hawks, but we always seem to get the short end of the stick.

  16. bruce studtmann says:

    I think i will wait to see if Shaw plays before i watch anymore ic soccer on tv.

  17. bct27 says:

    I see how Shanny waiting to hear about Smith’s status looks very bad at first. But: once Shanny got word that Smith was potentially injured, he had to take the injury into account when deciding on supplemental discipline for Shaw. So by waiting (e.g., to see if Smith practices today), he’s actually giving Shaw the most fair evaluation and the best chance of a reduced or no suspension. Frankly, I’m fine with Shanny waiting until after the anthem to make a decision if that’s how long it takes for Smith to get on the ice. If he made his decision yesterday, Smith would be considered injured and maybe Shaw gets 1 or 2 games. If Smith turns out to be fine today, maybe Shaw gets 0 or 1.

    Glenn–it’s not Shanny’s fault that the severity of an injury is used in determining suspensions. That’s written into the CBA (see Exhibit 8, starts on p. 268), which everyone agreed to while Shanny was still a player on the ice. Here’s a link to the CBA from the NHL’s website [pdf]. Page 271 lists the “Factors in Determining Supplemental Discipline,” and the second one is “Injury to the opposing Player(s) involved in the incident.” The basic principle underlying that is the same as the one that the criminal law system is based on; its the principle that says if you punch someone in a bar, you get punished more if that person dies (voluntary manslaughter) than if that person just gets a bloody nose (aggravated assault). Same one that says if you accidentally hit someone with your car, you get punished more if that person dies (vehicular manslaughter) than if they fall and sprain their wrist (just a civil suit unless you ran a red light or broke some other law). The act isn’t defined just by the physical action, but also by the consequences. And of course, some form of intent has to be there…but negligence counts as intent; see Keith raising his elbow high and hitting Sedin with full force–doesn’t matter if he didn’t mean to raise his elbow *that* high, he’s played hockey for 20 years, he knows the risks of making a hit like that. The use of this principle in the NHL might get tweaked with the next CBA, but I doubt it will get eliminated–and at least for now, thems the rules. I haven’t thought this through fully, but my gripe would be to question whether the criminal law model is a good one for professional sports. In criminal law decisions don’t need to be made within a matter of days after the incident, so it’s much clearer what the true consequences are. People are also judged by a jury of their peers in that system! Those are huge differences.

  18. JS says:

    bct27- You don’t think it’s unfair that the Blackhawks don’t know if they should bother to run practice with Shaw?

    If Shaw intended to hit Smith in the head, he gets suspended. You can say it is indefinitely until you find out how severe the injury is and then you give the game amount.

    If they rule that Shaw did not intentionally hit Smith, there shouldn’t be a suspension. Intent is the main factor in a suspension, severity of injury adds additional games.

    The Hawks are getting screwed hard here and Shanahan is holding the lube above his head.

  19. Toecutter says:

    I gotta tell ya that this wait is very frustrating. I watched a Coyotes’ hockey game a little over a week ago (I believe it was the second to last game of the year for them) where Smith was kicked in the head by one of his own teammates. He stayed down for an extended amount of time, but managed to stay in for the duration of the game and performed well….well enought to win. The guy is tough, especially for someone with a history of concussion problems. That being said, Shanny should in no way consider Smith’s health status in determining punishment (if any) to be levied on Shaw. Shaw was making a “hockey play” behind the net to block an attempted pass by Smith. Shaw squared up to block the pass, not to chuck the goalie. He even attempted to eek out of Smith’s way before the contact was made, but Smith’s head was down the entire time. There was coincidental contact, a slightly over-embelished flop to the ice by Smith, and Shaw was punished accordingly by the refs. Should Shaw have pulled up because he knew where he was about to go? Tough to say. An aggressive forecheck against an aggressive goalie who plays puck well. Goalie has as much right as player back there, but anyone who knows hockey (SHANAHAN!) will say that Shaw was making a hockey play. There was no intention whatsoever to bowl over the goalie. True that Shaw started the playoff series getting involoved in a series of scraps with Coyotes players, but that cannot be held against him either. There is no rhyme or reason to why the league has not made a decision yet.
    B.T.W: Anyone see Hjarlmasson paste Shane Doan up against the boards Saturday??? LOVED IT!!! Was like one of those FatHead things you stick on the wall! Hurt Doan too, and Doan spent much of the night forgetting about playing hockey and looking for a redemption hit or two (which he did get). But that is the type of physicality we need to show, b/c it does take the player away from his game. GO HAWKS!

  20. Bryan says:

    6.5 hrs before game time and were are STILL waiting on word of whether Shaw will be suspended or not…this is an absolute joke. The system is broken and needs to be fixed. The hawks have got to be livid at this point with the delay in announcing whether or not the young man will be disciplined further.

    You watch, Smith will start…all this “game-time decision” BS is just that BS. Shaw and the Hawks 3rd line has been more then effective this series and Phoenix would love nothing more than to see Shaw out of the lineup. I love the NHL and they playoff system they have in place currently is in my opinion one of the best in professional sports but this junk is an absolute black on the league.

  21. Toecutter says:

    lol….ya Bryan….plyaoffs are here, so you knew 3rd line would step up as they have the previous years!

  22. TOECUTTER says:

    Verdict out: Shaw suspended 3 games! ****ing BS!

  23. Bryan says:

    words cannot describe the anger….

  24. Barry Brown says:

    Shananhan is walking very gingerly trying to navigate these politically charged NHL waters, Bettman seems like the ultimate micro manager and so “… we get what we have here folks , a failure to communicate”.

  25. Jeff says:

    Thia is what you get in a culture of MMA mentality..Saints with bounty money and hockey players going over the line.It’s quite obvious the powers that be have no idea how to rule the game properly.

  26. bct27 says:

    Yikes. So the NHL ruled based on there being no injury, and still 3 playoff games? So during the regular season, this would have been abut a 9 game suspension?!? It’s hard to see where that comes from. Bitz gets 2 for a hit where he drives his shoulder into the guy’s head, has ample time to avoid the head contact, and injures the guy; Shaw gets 3 for a hit where he coasts into the contact (he also ample time to avoid the head contact), but no injury? The only conclusion can be that this comes down to protecting goalies, which apparently weighs a lot heavier than whether an injury occurred; file that under new precedents set with the Shaw decision. I actually don’t have a problem with the NHL setting new precedents , so long as they don’t violate old ones. I don’t know enough of the previous comparable cases involving goalies to know whether this is in line with them. Does anyone? I assume Stan is reviewing them now to figure out if this is worthy of an appeal; I assume not, since it would be a distraction and the Hawks usually take the high road. The Lucic/Miller incident (no suspension) doesn’t fit as a comparable, since there was no head contact and there was a loose puck involved. Although Miller clearly beats Lucic to that puck, and Lucic could have easily minimized the contact; I’d have preferred Lucic sit for 3 regular season games for that, making 1 post-season game for Shaw seem reasonable.

    JS–it was a definite disadvantage for the Hawks, but Shanny has up to 72 hours I believe to make his ruling, or until the next game, whichever’s sooner. So as annoying as it is, I don’t have a problem with him taking the time he’s allowed under the rules to go through the process, look at relevant cases, determine if there’s an injury, etc. Like I said, thems the rules, the teams/players know them; if Shaw wants to avoid all of this, he should have avoided the head contact (not hard at all–I fully agree with Shanny’s assessment that Shaw did not make a reasonable effort to avoid the head contact).

    Now, I have a hard time understanding how after all of that, and deciding there was no injury, he came up with 3 games instead of 1, maybe 2. I guess that comes down to protecting goalies, though, especially when it comes to hits to the head, which is and should be a big deal.

  27. TOECUTTER says:

    “Protecting the Quarterback” is in the NHL now……

  28. Montana Blackhawk says:

    Shanny…really…you of all hockey players should know the difference between intent to injure and incidental contact. Help me remember…weren’t you you one of the dirtiest players during your tenure…OH…you forgot!

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