The Big Question will be a weekly feature on PHT where we ask a question, provide some background and ask you, the reader, to weigh in with your opinions.
Today’s question: How would you grade Brendan Shanahan’s job performance?
NHL disciplinarian is a tough job, something Brendan Shanahan is discovering after enjoying a brief honeymoon in the position. No longer is everyone patting him on the back for his “tough on crime” approach or for making videos that clearly explain the decision-making process. There aren’t many, if any, teams that have yet to disagree with a Shanahan ruling that either suspended a player or didn’t.
Mostly the complaints have focused on Shanahan’s consistency, or lack thereof. If this guy got this many games, why did this guy get that many games? Watch this video, now watch this one. How’s that play any different from that one?
Shanahan knows he can’t please everyone all the time, but is he pleasing enough people most of the time to deem his performance a success?
For what it’s worth, I’ve only taken issue with a handful of his verdicts.
First was letting Wojtek Wolski off the hook for hitting Daniel Alfredsson in the head. I thought Wolski did that intentionally.
Second was the Milan Lucic-Ryan Miller incident. While I don’t think Lucic deserved to be suspended for running over Miller, I disagreed with Shanahan’s conclusion that Lucic couldn’t have avoided the collision.
Finally, I thought Jordin Tootoo’s two-game suspension for running over Miller was harsh. Not that Shanahan didn’t warn players there’d be a “heightened sensitivity to the well-being” of goalies after the Lucic-Miller incident, but a major penalty was sufficient in my view.
Feel free to disagree. Those are just my takes. Yours might be different. Which is why Shanahan’s job is so tough. There are so many variables to each incident, and with each variable there’s an opportunity for people to have conflicting opinions.
Given the difficulty of the job, I’d give Shanahan a B-plus for his performance to date. How ‘bout you?