Originally posted on Taking Bad Schotz  |  Last updated 1/19/12


Although Zdeno Chara’s humungous six-foot-nine frame may instill fear in the hearts of opposing players, the scariest figure in the league right now might be disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan.  The former Red Wing and future hall-of-famer has brought a new hard-nosed approach to assessing suspensions and fines to players whose actions are deemed inappropriate in the eyes of the NHL.

In retrospect, former league vice president Colin Campbell proved to be ineffective in remedying the growing concussion and head-shot problem throughout the league, including a lack of action in giving sanctions to Chara and Penguin Matt Cooke after brutal hits dolled out from these players resulted in severe injuries to their victims.  Shanahan has stepped in and given a variety of suspensions to offenders.  Boston agitator Brad Marchand, Chicago’s main thug Daniel Carcillo, Calgary’s Rene Bourque, and notorious Phoenix tough guy Raffi Torres have all been punished with suspensions ranging from 2 games up to 7 for Marchand.

Clearly Shanahan has made his point.  Fans of the league must hope that his sanctions result in fewer hits to the head and less time lost for concussions, but at what cost? Hockey is a rough, physical sport, always has been, (hopefully) always will be.  I would hate to see Shanahan over-do it, and create a softer league.  Although concussions are an issue, one or two games suspensions and fines are the answer here, not 10 game suspensions; Shanahan needs to be careful in assuring that the NHL will always feature the bruising, crushing hits that are so very entertaining to fans.  Another controversial, yet entertaining, moment occurred when Rangers forward Artem Anisimov could not control his exuberance after scoring against the Lightning, and expressed his elation with quite a celebration.  He pointed his stick directly at the Tampa Bay net and appeared to mime firing a machine-gun towards the goaltender.

Although it was somewhat a tribute to this famous Teemu Selanne celebration from the 90’s, Anisimov’s antic attracted much ire from the Lightning and earned him a misconduct penalty.  As seen on HBO’s 24/7 Winter Classic coverage, the Russian apologized to his teammates in the locker room after the incident; overall I thought it was a boneheaded yet fairly funny and memorable celebration from an exciting young player.



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