Day two of Brendan Shanahan’s 2011 North American Tour (Shana-Aid? Shanapalooza?) saw the NHL’s discipline czar stay in Nashville to speak with the visiting Detroit Red Wings, writes Ansar Khan of MLive.com.
So, what was the meeting all about?
“Just going over what he’s seen so far in the first quarter of the season, showed some of the illegal hits and some of the legal hits,” said Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom. “Just letting us know what [the NHL] is looking at when there’s a questionable hit. It helps the players having a chance to see how [the league] is looking at things and what we can do to prevent some of those hits.”
The meeting also allowed Shanahan to get reacquainted with some familiar faces. He spent nine years with Detroit before leaving in 2005-06, but many of his former mates are still with the team: Lidstrom, Tomas Holmstrom, Johan Franzen, Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg, Dan Cleary, Niklas Kronwall, Valtteri Filppula and Jimmy Howard. So yeah, like half the roster.
Not that this “familiarity” would have any bearing on Shanahan’s role as the league’s chief disciplinarian. He’s got strong ties to other organizations as well — St. Louis, New Jersey, New York (Rangers) — and it’s not like the Wings give him tons of material to work with anyway. Detroit is almost always one of the NHL’s least-penalized teams and hasn’t employed a dedicated fighter since Brad May in 2009-10.
In fact, the suspension handed down to Brendan Smith in the preseason — for an illegal check to the head of Chicago’s Ben Smith — was the first fine or suspension given to a Wings player in four seasons.
[Note: Detroit’s clean record may go back even further than that, but suspension records prior to 2007 are kind of spotty.]