Chances are, if you hold a job right now, it’s not perfect. I’d be willing to be that almost anyone reading this right now either has a job that’s a) not fulfilling, b) very difficult or c) a combination of both.
Even so, there are some roles that seem downright unenviable. If the NHL has a perfect example of that type of job, it would have to be whatever you want to call Brendan Shanahan’s duties.
In a way, hockey’s equivalent to being the U.S. President is some combination of the high-profile role that Gary Bettman plays and the thankless job that Shanahan has. Perhaps it makes perfect sense, then, that Bettman evokes the startling presidential aging process when explaining Shanny’s work so far:
“I think Brendan is doing a terrific job,” Bettman said. “I think, particularly with the videos, there’s greater clarity as to what’s expected on the ice and what won’t be tolerated. He probably aged five years in the last five months… Well, it’s because he has an extremely difficult job. I think part of what’s happened is people have, on second look, given Colin Campbell a little more respect for the job that he did for 13 years in this field. This is a hard, hard job that he has. The decisions are hard and nobody is ever happy.”
That’s probably the key phrase: “Nobody is ever happy.”
It’s not totally different from being a goal replay judge; no matter what, at least some fans on the other side won’t be happy with your decision. (Even on the goals are painfully obvious to objective eyes.)
Does this mean you shouldn’t be upset if your team is “wronged” in the next Shanahan verdict? Not necessarily, but it might be fair to remember that these decisions – or at least the repercussions – seem to weigh on the man making them.
(Reporting via Matt Reitz.)