Sharks’ Clowe suspended two games for leaving bench to start altercation

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NHL discipline czar Brendan Shanahan has suspended San Jose Sharks forward Ryane Clowe two games for legally leaving the bench to engage in an altercation with Chicago’s Andrew Shaw on Friday night.

Here’s Shanahan’s video explanation:

“[Joe Pavelski] has been on the ice for a minute and eight seconds, and is skating towards the Sharks door,” Shanahan explained. “Signalling to Clowe the opportunity to make a legal line change under NHL standards.

“With that established, we asked the question: Does Clowe enter the ice on a legal line change for the purpose of starting an altercation? In our opinion, the answer is yes.”

So in short, Clowe going onto the ice was legit because…

1) Head coach Todd McLellan designated him as the next player on, and the video shows Clowe was looking to make a legal change before the hit occurred.

2) Pavelski had been out long enough and close enough to the door to to signify a change was about to occur.

Ergo, no 10-game suspension for leaving the bench to fight.

The suspension stems from Clowe making a beeline at Shaw, who wasn’t engaged physically with any other player, an action that constituted the “purpose of starting an altercation.”

Shanahan also noted Clowe has been fined twice over his eight-year NHL career, which could’ve played a part in the decision.

(That said, Shanahan also remarked that Clowe’s never been suspended before.)

Since Clowe has already served one game of his suspension — sitting out Saturday’s 3-1 loss in Dallas — he’ll only miss one more game, Tuesday at home against Colorado.

He’ll also forfeit $39,189.18 in salary to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.