The hits have gotten pretty ugly this year. We’ve seen way too many players being taken off on a stretcher this season, and we’re only through ten percent of the season. All these serious and debilitating hits have caused the folks over at the Department of Player Safety to work double time to keep up with all the carnage. Thankfully, no player has had their career seriously imperiled by those hits. (What we Bruins fans called “getting Cooked”.)
All Bruins fans can be happy that none of the Black and Gold have been on either side of a hit requiring intervention from the Department of Player Safety.
There have been serious problems with consistency at the DoPS, and it looks like their head, Brendan Shanahan has finally drawn some clear lines. It appears that any serious hit to the head will lead to a fine or in this case, a suspension. In the case of Islanders’ forward Michael Grabner, he had no previous offenses when he made his check to the head of Carolina Hurricanes’ Nathan Gerbe. The hit wasn’t a clean one, and Grabner aimed for the head. That hit earned Grabner a two game suspension.
While the DoPS aren’t quite at one hundred percent when it comes to head hits, they have nailed down the punishment for boarding. The league implemented the new rule on hybrid icing to severly curtail one player slamming another in to the boards. Cody McLeod of the Colorado Avalanche found himself facing a five game ‘Shanaban’ for his boarding of Niklas Kronwall. His utter lack of problems in the past are what saved him from a more severe punishment.
This falls into place with the earlier call the DoPS made against Maxim Lapierre for his board against Dan Boyle. Lapierre was not listed as a repeat offender by the terms of the collective bargaining agreement, and was hit with the same five game suspension.
Is it possible that all the cat-calls, bad jokes, and rotten comments made by the fans have finally reached the ears of Shanahan? It sure seems like it. This year, Shanahan seems to be wielding the ‘Shanaban’ like a Jedi uses a lightsaber. Often, with the occasionally messy result. We’re still all going to grumble at what comes out of that department, but hopefully we’ll be doing it less often.