I have been a big fan of the job Brendan Shanahan has done since he took over as NHL disciplinarian. He has given us things we have not seen in a long time: transparency, a hard hand when it comes to getting rid of dirty hits, and an obvious effort in making the game safer for the players.
I have agreed with everything he has done so far…until yesterday.
It deals with Patrick Kaleta’s headbutt on Jakub Voracek.
Let rewind a bit. The fine editor of the Backhand Shelf Blog (and my co-host of it’s Podcast) is Justin Bourne, and he wrote a great post yesterday pretty much saying enough is enough when it comes to Kaleta. Then on the podcast, he invented a new term: “So Kaleta”. Basically, if someone does something dirty/dangerous/greasy, but does it in a sneaky-not-so-obvious kind of way, it’s So Kaleta.
I agreed with everything Justin said yesterday, and we were both anticipating Shana-ban to throw the book at him.
I treat Shanahan explanation vids like movies in that I try desperately not to find out the ending before I watch it. I want to see it without knowing how long the suspension will be. Which happened yesterday when he tweeted the link for the explanation. Let’s take a look at it now.
1) He showed the blatant headbutt by Kaleta (the last time I saw one that obvious, I was mere moments away from running down the street wearing only an Italian flag in celebration of a World Cup win: True Story)
2) He showed not one, but TWO instances of Kaleta doing the EXACT same thing. Clearly, he is not getting the message.
At this point I was bracing myself for a BIG one.
It has to be.
I can’t think of a more clear cut case.
He just laid out the case for us on video for all to see.
Then at the 1:40 mark we hear Shanahan say “Suspend Patrick Kaleta for four games”.
If I had any water in my mouth, I would have performed the most epic spit take of all time. As I tweeted after I saw it, I felt like I was watching the OJ trial again, all the evidence in the world, and a terrible verdict. Some may say it’s unfair to compare this suspension to others he has handed out because, well, headbutting is not that common. Isn’t that the point? Headbutting is one of those things that is so dirty, you really don’t have any defense (much like sucker punching, slew footing, or using your stick on another players neither regions). For a man to have done this 3 times over the last 13 months, and only receive a four game ban is baffling.
At least for now, I’m dropping the name Shana-ban.
Let’s take a look at some links
Here Joe, congrats on 1000 games, here is the strangest gift ever given to a human being ever (CSN Bay Area)
Is the NBA lockout a good thing for the NHL? Gary Bettman doesn’t think so (Pro hockey talk)
Puck Daddy compiled a list of 7 players who should pretty much keep their bags packed at all times
It’s only November 4th and we have seen a ton of notable injuries. Don’t think so? Check out the list compiled by Spector’s hockey
Alex Ovechkin’s Lonely Hearts Club Band?? (Washington post)
Leafs…November…First Place overall…uuhm what? (Pension Plan Puppets)
Speaking of teams people didn’t think would be doing this well, how bout dem Oilers (LA Times)
How has the NHL Changed? Just ask Mr. Hockey (Calgary Sun)
And finally, last time I checked, this was not allowed in the shootout