Brendan Shanahan

In fairness to Shanahan, he’s got a pretty tough job

36 Comments

There are times (many, many times) when you wonder if Brendan Shanahan wishes he could tell all his critics, “Hey, if you think you can do a better job, by all means, have at it. I’ll be over here drinking a daiquiri and laughing.”

The NHL’s disciplinarian was a little more diplomatic in an exclusive interview with the Globe and Mail, but you could sense his frustration with some of the criticism he’s been hearing recently.

“I think the job is always going to be subjective,” Shanahan said. “Regardless of who does it, the person is going to be accused of a million things. I don’t think people understand the depth of analysis and evaluation that we seek on each case. I get that. People don’t have the time to look at things as long and as deep as we do. But this for us is a 24-hour job. As our families can attest, we obsess about it.

“I’m not going to say we’re perfect. I do think we’re really qualified, and we’re really good.”

Shanahan also tells the Globe his decisions haven’t been influenced by owners.

“When I make a decision that you don’t like, blame me,” he said. “None of us needs to do this. People will say: ‘He needs the job, of course he’ll do whatever they tell him to do.’ No one has told any of us [what to do]. There’s too much scrutiny in this job for any of us to have favorites or alliances with old friends.”

Look, I’m not saying I agree with every ruling Shanahan has made.

But he’s never, ever going to satisfy the people, many of them in the media, that seem to cry for a suspension on every questionable play, AND the people, many of them fans, who think the rough stuff is just playoff hockey, AND the fans that can’t maintain their objectivity because of team allegiances, AND the teams that don’t want their players suspended, AND the teams that want the other teams’ players suspended, AND the people who think intent to injure should be punished, AND the people who think the actual injury should be the deciding factor.

Capitals accuse Letang of leaving his feet, hitting Johansson in head

18 Comments

Get this: the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins seem divided on the legality of Kris Letang‘s hit on Marcus Johansson.

(Take a moment to gather your thoughts amid this shocking revelation.)

You can watch the hit over and over in the video above. This post features some takes on that check, which the NHL’s Department of Player Safety is reportedly reviewing.

Generally speaking, the three things people discuss regarding the check is how late it might be, if Letang used his feet and if Johansson’s head was the principal point of contact.

Letang told his side of the story:

The Capitals disagree:

While Barry Trotz pleads the Fifth after his previous comments about Brooks Orpik‘s suspension:

No doubt about it, Letang’s status is the top story to follow in this series between Games 3 and 4. We’ll find out soon enough how it all shakes out.

Penguins ride Murray’s masterpiece to 2-1 series lead vs. Capitals

22 Comments

If Marc-Andre Fleury suiting up bothers Matt Murray, then the rookie goalie channeled those feelings into a masterful performance on Monday.

The Washington Capitals absolutely dominated Game 3, but Murray was even better, stopping 47 shots as the Penguins stole one 3-2 to take a 2-1 series lead.

(Capitals fans might see some parallels to Washington’s Game 5 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers; they fell 2-0 despite a 44-11 shots on goal edge thanks to Michal Neuvirth‘s heroics.)

Murray stopped chance after chance before Alex Ovechkin finally broke through for his first goal of this series. Justin Williams then brought the Penguins’ lead down to 3-2 to make for a hold-your-breath final minute.

A driven Ovechkin and strong overall play from the Capitals (despite this defeat) aren’t the only reasons why Game 4 might present some twists.

First things first: Kris Letang might get suspended for Game 4 (if not for more than one game) thanks to this controversial check on Marcus Johansson.

Beyond that, there could be some bumps and bruises from this contest.

Bryan Rust left during the first period and didn’t return to the game after blocking a shot. Brian Dumoulin seemed shaken up after an Alex Ovechkin hit in the third period. The Capitals might have a player or two to look at, as well.

In other words, the Penguins could really lack for quality defensemen with Letang possibly suspended and possible injury absences for Dumoulin and Olli Maatta.

This series is living up to the hype … and really building up the hate.

Yes, NHL is reportedly looking at Letang’s hit on Johansson

22 Comments

It remains to be seen if Kris Letang will get suspended for his hit on Marcus Johansson … and if he does, for how long.

(You can read initial reactions and some analysis about the specifics of the check vs. the one that got Brooks Orpik suspended here.)

There are a few things we do know already.

For one thing, the NHL’s Department of Player Safety is reportedly looking into it.

Another factor that could help Letang avoid a suspension or limit the duration of supplemental discipline: Marcus Johansson returned during the second period.

In fact, Johansson delivered some hits on Letang.

There have been some nasty moments in Game 3, and more might be coming. The Penguins lead 2-0 with a few minutes remaining in the middle frame.

Kris Letang may face suspension for hit on Marcus Johansson

99 Comments

Update: Reports indicate that the NHL’s Department of Player Safety is indeed looking into the hit.

***

As thrilling as this Pittsburgh Penguins – Washington Capitals series has been, it seems like every game presents another controversial hit.

Game 3’s most noteworthy entry (so far?) came when Kris Letang was whistled for interference on Marcus Johansson.

Penguins fans griped that Brooks Orpik didn’t get a major penalty for his hit on Olli Maatta … now Capitals fans likely feel the same about the check Letang delivered.

Watch it in the video above. Also, Stefanie “My Regular Face” has it in GIF form:

Things could get ugly in Game 3:

One factor in a suspension happening – or at least the duration of the suspension – would be what the point of contact was:

Also, lateness of the check:

The Penguins ended the first period up 2-0 against the Capitals, even though Washington played one of its best 20 minutes of the series. Expect more drama.

Update: The Penguins won the game 3-2.

Read reactions to the check here.