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

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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.

Erik Karlsson played through hairline fractures in foot to help Sens advance

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Remember when many were keeping an eye on Erik Karlsson after he was seemingly cramping up after logging more than 40 minutes in an OT contest against the Boston Bruins.

It’s possible he was also dealing with that sort of ailment, but he earned some “hockey tough” kudos on Sunday after word surfaced that the Ottawa Senators defenseman was dealing with hairline fractures in his left heel through the series.

Sportsnet’s Jason York refers to the issue as “two small fractures” while ESPN’s Joe McDonald went into specifics, noting that Karlsson explains that the injury happened on March 28 (and was why he missed some games late in the season).

There’s some optimism as the Senators ready for the New York Rangers, at least according to Karlsson.

Hmm.

Either way, that’s impressive stuff from the Senators defenseman, and the sort of information that usually only surfaces after a team has been eliminated. We’ll see if he’s hindered by such issues as the playoffs go along.

Gaudreau, Granlund and Tarasenko: 2017 Lady Byng finalists

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The NHL officially announced the nominees for the 2017 Lady Byng on Sunday, and they’re a star-studded bunch: Johnny Gaudreau, Mikael Granlund and Vladimir Tarasenko.

The PHWA determines “the player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability.”

(Did Tarasenko help eliminate Granlund’s team in a gentlemanly fashion?)

For more on the three finalists, click here.

MacArthur, Senators end Bruins’ season in OT after controversial calls

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It’s a feel-good story, especially if you can look beyond questions of officiating.

Clarke MacArthur could have very well never played another NHL game considering his lengthy battles with concussion symptoms. Instead, he drew a penalty on the Boston Bruins in overtime of Game 6 and then managed to score the series-clinching goal.

Now, this isn’t to say that MacArthur didn’t rightfully draw a penalty; it most clearly was. And, in the bigger picture, it’s one of those stories that almost makes you wonder if real-life sports actually do follow Hollywood scripts.

People just wonder about some other decisions during that overtime, in particular, making it frustrating for some Bruins fans to see the season end in such a way.

Whether they like it or not, that is the case, though.

The Senators took Game 6 by a score of 3-2 (OT), winning their series 4-2. They can breathe a sigh of relief in avoiding a Game 7, an especially valuable bonus since Erik Karlsson had been pushed hard lately, logging more than 40 minutes in a recent game.

Ottawa avoids a do-or-die contest. Instead, they’ll face the New York Rangers in the next round while the Bruins enter the summer following an up-and-down campaign.

Bergeron takes advantage of slow Sens change, sends Game 6 to OT (Video)

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Every game in this Senators – Bruins series has been decided by one goal, so why not send Game 6 to overtime?

Oh, and speaking of overtime, this contest going beyond regulation makes it 17 OT games, tying an NHL record for the most in a single round.

Ottawa appeared to take a “lazy change” with a 2-1 lead, and Patrice Bergeron made the Senators pay, putting in a rebound to collect the goal that eventually sent this contest to overtime.