For the last three years, Brendan Shanahan has had the unfortunate job of being the Vice President of Player Safety for the National Hockey League. The fans quickly took exceptions to his “Shanabans”, Some penalties were too mild, some were too tough, and a few were outright wrong. A lot of people have been saying that whomever has the Player Safety job is the most hated man in hockey. (Judging by the amount of boos every time he hands out a Stanley Cup, it’s safe to say that Gary Bettman is still public enemy number one.)
Shanahan was offered the general manager job for the Toronto Maple Leafs in the off-season. So he quit his NHL office job for a chance to be back working for a franchise. As the new GM for Toronto, he made several sweeping changes. Out went experienced hockey players whose on-ice time didn’t transition into front office success. Claude Loiselle (and former Boston Bruins player Dave Poulin) were terminated. Toronto’s loss appears to be the NHL’s (supposed) gain.
The hockey gods have been rumor-mongering again. This time around, they say that Loiselle is expected to be named Shanahan’s successor as VP of the NHL Department of Player Safety. That announcement is expected to come out any day now.
Well, that will certain spice things up for the hockey blog community. Remember how much fun certain bloggers (rhymes with Duck Paddy) couldn’t help but singing the bias of Shanahan’s predecessor Colin Campbell? (While it certainly was an unusual position for a father-son combo to be in, Campbell handled the job well. Then again, some hockey bloggers wouldn’t know the word ‘integrity’ if it reached out and hard-wiped their computers.) This time around, I’m sure the blogging community will be looking towards any sign of bias against the Toronto franchise.
Loiselle was hired for experience, and I’m sure that will work out well for both parties. He’ll have to come down hard on the first serious offender, and he’ll need to be able to show a little more charisma than Shanahan did when he announced his punishments. Personally, Stephane Quintal did not do a bad job as an interim disciplinarian. He had one of the more colorful NHL resumes. (Not many players can claim to be an ex-Hab and an ex-Bruin.)