Merry Christmas, everyone. Since we can’t buy all our readers an iPad2, we’ve put together a list of the best 10 NHL moments of the past year that we’ll be rolling out on the site all day long.
Brendan Shanahan’s screen debut
On Sept. 23, NHL discipline czar Brendan Shanahan suspended Calgary’s Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond five games — four preseason, one regular season — for his hit on Vancouver’s Matt Clackson.
The suspension itself wasn’t noteworthy, but the way it was handled was a game-changer.
“Instead of the usual short, tossed-off press releases for often controversial disciplinary decisions, we now can see the league’s discipline chief himself go over the infraction and give us his explanation for his decision,” wrote Adrian Dater of Sports Illustrated. “Shanahan’s careful point-by-point analysis of Leblond’s hit from behind on Vancouver’s Matt Clackson was a good tutorial not just for the novice fans who were watching, but also for longtime hockey buffs who have often been confused by past rulings.”
With Shanahan explaining his ruling via video, the league became a leader amongst the “big four” (NHL, MLB, NFL, NBA) in terms of innovation, communication and transparency.