Over the last week, the Minnesota Wild have been on the wrong side of a few decisions from the NHL disciplinary office. No, they haven’t see a few of their players relegated to the press box with suspensions; but they have seen a few of their players sidelined by borderline hits. The frustrating part for some fans in Minnesota is that in each case, Brendan Shanahan ruled that the offending opponent did not deserve supplemental discipline.
Today, Michael Russo of the Star-Tribune caught up with the Shanahan to talk about the recent trend of decisions that have gone against the Wild. The NHL suspension master told Wild GM Chuck Fletcher that it doesn’t “escape me that this has now happened to your club three times.’… I can’t suspend a guy because he hit the wrong guy on the wrong team. [Fletcher] understood. Hey, it’s a tough call. You’re calling a GM the day after he loses one of his best defensemen to an injury. It’s not a pleasant job that we do. But we do it everyday.”
The hits in question were a dangerous shove from behind by Cody McLeod that injured Jared Spurgeon, another dangerous play by Lennart Petrell on Marek Zidlicky, and finally borderline hit by Zach Bogosian on Pierre-Marc Bouchard. On their own, they were all questionable plays that have gone either way. When each and every one of the hits went unpunished, there was a little frustration bubbling under the surface in the State of Hockey.
This open conversation is just another example of the great transparency that Shanahan has brought to the NHL offices. Obviously, no decision maker is going to admit to any bias, but he took the time to address a market that may have concerns and explain his thought process for each of his judgments. Fans may agree or disagree with the final decision, but at least everyone understands the factors that contributed to the decision.
Dubinsky won’t change, and he won’t go easy on Crosby
“Nope,” Dubinsky said. “You know, I’ve played the same way my whole career and I’m not going to change. The next time I have an opportunity to play (Crosby), I’m going to play him hard.”
In case you’re wondering, that next opportunity comes on Dec. 21 in Pittsburgh, assuming that both players are healthy and not suspended.
One can understand Dubinsky’s perspective, although such honesty would be that much more interesting if there’s another incident with Crosby. His initial reaction to the hit was interestingly candid, admitting that his “stick rode up” on his adversary.
Would that stance – which, from a harsher view, might seem flippant to Dubinsky’s critics – open the door for a bigger future bit of a discipline?
Maybe, maybe not … but at least his comments aren’t as inflammatory as what John Tortorella said (at least on the record).
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