Precedent set: Shanahan suspends Bitz two games for boarding

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NHL discipline czar Brendan Shanahan has issued his first playoff suspension, handing Vancouver’s Byron Bitz a two-game ban for boarding Kings forward Kyle Clifford on Wednesday.

Here’s the video explanation:

Bitz was given a five minute boarding major on the play and a game misconduct. Clifford left the contest, didn’t return and today the Kings announced he’d miss Game 2 with an upper-body injury.

The suspension length is notable given what Shanahan’s predecessor, Colin Campbell, handed out in the first round of last year’s playoffs.  Campbell issued three suspensions — Jarret Stoll got one game for boarding Ian White, Bobby Ryan got two games for stomping Jonathan Blum and Jarkko Ruutu got a game for a late hit on Martin Erat.

It’s also a noteworthy length given what Shanahan said back in March:

“I can attest to this as a player, if you ask me if I’d rather have a four-game suspension in November than a one-game suspension in the playoffs, I’d take the four-game suspension in November.

“If you think about it, that one game in the finals is the equivalent of a 12-game suspension. … I don’t feel we’re in the punishment business, we’re in the changing player behavior business. You do that by getting a player’s attention.”

By that math, Byron Bitz just got an eight-game suspension.