A lot of us have been baffled by the shocking inconsistency that has occurred with the suspensions (or lack thereof) that have come from the Department of Player Safety, and its boss Brendan Shanahan. Players who should not have been suspended were. Players who should have received a very long penalty got three games (if any). There has also seemed to be a bias against those players who are not A-list stars in hockey. Regardless of our feelings towards the DoPS, they’re going to have a busy couple of days with all the head shots and boardings that have happened in the last few days.
On a positive note, I think they nailed the Patrick Kaleta penalty perfectly. Kaleta, who plays for the struggling Buffalo Sabres is the textbook example of a repeat offender. He has been fined three times, and suspended three times in the last four seasons for a series of head hits and hi-sticking calls. This time around, he elbowed Columbus blueliner Jack Johnson in the head and got a ten game Shanaban for his actions. Johnson wasn’t hurt, and no penalty was called, but Shanahan was clear in his punishment.
“It’s important to note that no matter who delivered this hit, it would have resulted in supplemental discipline.” said Shanahan in the suspension video.
The match between the San Jose Sharks and the Saint Louis Blues will probably keep Shanahan busy most of the day. It all stems from a rather stupid play made by St. Louis’ Maxim Lapierre. He targets San Jose’s Dan Boyle and puts him face first into the top of the boards. Boyle was knocked unconscious on the play, and it led to a fracas between several members of both squads. Lapierre got a major for the boarding and an ejection (and as another repeat offender, he’ll be getting that phone call from DoPS.) Three other players in that game received majors for fighting and ten for game misconduct. San Jose’s Andrew Desjardins got two additional minutes for instigating a fight with Lapierre.
Ex-Bruin Andrew Ference might be in a little hot water as well. He ended up catching Sidney Crosby in the face with his stick last night. Even though the hit was accidental, it was a head hit. It was also Sidney Crosby, and the league does tend to favor it’s superstars. Also factoring in the dartboard method they seem to be using over at DoPS, he could be looking at a fine or a small game suspension.
So far, none of the Bruins have run afoul of the Shanaban. Only two players have double digit minutes in penalties. Shawn Thornton(17) to no one’s surprise leads the team, followed by another easy guess Milan Lucic (12). With the severity of penalties (for real and imagined offenses) being levied now by the DoPS, I’m sure the Bruins will be on some of their best behavior in years.