One of the biggest stories this season has been the rise of Brendan Shanahan, the league’s new Senior Vice President of Player Safety. Right out of the gate, Shanahan showed that, like Homey the Clown from In Living Color, he don’t play that in regards to blindside hits and hits where the head and neck are the target. In a league where it is quite easy to name men who have been adversely affected by concussions (Crosby. Savard. Burns. Bergeron. Horton. The list goes on and on, sadly), Shanahan is trying to change that. I applaud his efforts. I couldn’t help but think of the defenders-of-justice on Law and Order: Special Victims Unit, which just hasn’t been the same since Stabler left, so I had to make that little graphic there.
Shanahan knows the game he’s regulating. He played for five different teams, most notably the Red Wings, the team that gave him three Cup champion rings. He’s also one of the 25 members of the Triple Gold Club. He’s not just some civilian who got promoted from within the league HQ. In fact, he only retired in 2009, so it’s not like he played his last shift back when Reagan was president or something. He knows the game in and out and wants to make it cleaner and safer for the players. If that means some team lineups are different for a while, in order to teach offenders a lesson, so be it.
Shanahan posts videos to the NHL website explaining each suspension, so when a friend jokingly said she would watch Law and Order: Player Safety Unit, I pointed her in that direction. But if you’re not down with videos or just like reading stuff instead, here’s a list. We’ll keep it updated to show how much Shanahan seriously don’t play that.
Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond (Calgary) suspended for five games (four preseason and one regular) for boarding Matt Clackson (Vancouver)
Jody Shelley (Philadelphia) suspended for ten games (five preseason and five regular) for boarding Darryl Boyce (Toronto)
James Wisniewski (Columbus) suspended for twelve games (four preseason and eight regular) for an illegal check to the head of Cal Clutterbuck (Minnesota)
Brad Staubitz (Minnesota) suspended for seven games (four preseason and three regular) for checking Cody Bass (Columbus) from behind
Brad Boyes (Buffalo) suspended for two preseason games for an illegal hit to the head of Joe Colborne (Toronto)
Jean-Francois Jacques (Anaheim) suspended for nine games (four preseason and five regular) for leaving the bench to initiate a fight with Mike Duco (Vancouver)
Tom Sestito (Philadelphia) suspended for four games (two preseason and two regular) for checking Andre Deveaux (Rangers) from behind
Brendan Smith (Detroit) suspended for eight games (three preseason and five regular) for an illegal hit to the head of Ben Smith (Chicago)
Clarke MacArthur (Toronto) suspended for three games (one preseason and two regular) for an illegal hit to the head of Justin Abdelkader (Detroit)