Saturday proved to be an ugly night for the NHL playoffs. Game 2 between Ottawa and New York saw a pair of ugly incidents, one involving Matt Carkner another with Carl Hagelin, while Game 2 between Chicago and Phoenix saw Blackhawks forward Andrew Shaw go barreling through Coyotes goalie Mike Smith.
NHL head of player safety Brendan Shanahan will spend today and tomorrow meeting up with all of these parties to see if they’re worthy of being suspended. Shanahan will meet with Carkner and Hagelin this afternoon while he’ll meet with Shaw on Monday.
Carkner was guilty of jumping Rangers forward Brian Boyle in the opening minute of the game trying to hand out some frontier justice for Boyle’s treatment of Erik Karlsson in Game 1. Hagelin delivered a dirty elbow to the head of Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson, one that knocked Alfredsson out of the game with an apparent head injury.
Shaw’s hit on Smith, meanwhile, looked terrifying at the time as Smith was laid out on the ice with an apparent head injury. Smith wound up staying in the game and finishing it out while Shaw was given a five-minute major for charging and a game misconduct. The debate whether it was gamesmanship by Smith or poor injury handling by the Coyotes staff will rage on from here.
Shanahan’s had his hands full already in the postseason giving a two-game suspension to Canucks forward Byron Bitz for a hit from behind on Kyle Clifford while letting Predators defenseman Shea Weber slide with a fine for delivering a wrestling-like head shot of his own to Henrik Zetterberg.
Safe to say Shanahan can’t afford to let too many guys off the hook as players appear to be acting out more recklessly and if anyone’s got to worry about serving time, it’s Carkner and Hagelin.