There is no need to complain about Brendan Shanahan’s lack of consistency in determining discipline in the NHL. It’s a moot point now. We know that there is no standard and I don’t believe that we can begin to hope for one. However, this time I think Shanahan may have actually gotten it right.
Duncan Keith of the Chicago Blackhawks laid a blatant elbow to the head of Canuck’s Daniel Sedin on March 22.
Keith was suspended for 5 games. He will also forfeit $149,688.15 of his salary in that time, which will be given to the Player Safety Emergency Fund. In January, I laid out a system for the NHL for suspensions revolving around the idea that the NHL must ban any and all head shots from the game. (System Needed for Suspensions) This suspension on Keith actually aligns with what I laid out.
There is no arguing that the contact with Sedin’s head was not only deliberate, but that contact at this point was completely unnecessary as the puck took a weird bounce over the heads of Keith and Sedin. Keith had time to at the very least, make minimal contact or lay a clean check. Keith served a 2 minute minor during the game, but honestly, for something this flagrant and dangerous, he should have served a major.
Sedin is out with a concussion, which will no doubt harm the Canucks as the season draws to a close. The Blackhawks will suffer too at the loss of their Norris Trophy winning defenseman with 9 games left in the season and a playoff spot not yet guaranteed.
If Shanahan would start with 5 games for headshots for a first offense and continue to up the number of games, players will be more disinclined to deliver headshots.