Thursday, April 12, 2012

Shea Weber Gets Off Easy

Shea Weber's hit last night at the end of the Predators' 3-2 win over the Red Wings generated a lot of speculation about just how long he'd be suspended.

I wondered myself whether or not he'd be suspended for the rest of the series, however long that may be.

I got in the car today on my lunch break and found out that Weber will, in fact, not be suspended a single game, and will be fined the maximum $2,500.  Say it ain't so Brendan Shanahan, say it ain't so.  What do you think about the hit?



Here's a statement from Shanahan, the league's head disciplinarian:
"This was a reckless and reactionary play on which Weber threw a glancing punch and then shoved Zetterberg's head into the glass.  As is customary whenever Supplemental Discipline is being considered, we contacted Detroit following the game and were informed that Zetterberg did not suffer an apparent injury and should be in the lineup for Game 2. 

"This play and the fine that addressed it will be significant factors in assessing any incidents involving Shea Weber throughout the remainder of the playoffs."
There's one phrase in what Shanahan said that is exactly why he should be suspended for at least five games.  "Shoved Zetterberg's head into the glass" is the phrase I'm referring to, and is why I think a lot of people are so upset.  The league portrays such an awareness and a desire to curtail head injuries that you'd think they'd like to make an example of Shea Weber, or at least continue the precedent they've set with others.

I get that it's the playoffs, and that you want the stars on the ice, but it's also the time when the NHL gets the most national attention.  As Steve Rosenbloom points out in an online column, it'd be the perfect time to practice what you preach.  I don't always agree with Rosenbloom, as he often over-exaggerates, but he hit the nail on the head this time (no pun intended...or is there?).  Also, whether or not Zetterberg plays in Game 2 should have no bearing on Shanahan's decision.

So how are the Blackhawks affected by this decision?  Shanahan's decision indirectly says it's OK to target the head.  The Hawks have a very important piece most likely returning to the ice tonight in Phoenix.  Jonathan Toews had best have his head on a swivel, because the Coyotes might feel up to taking some liberties when they get a chance.  Toews missed the last quarter of the regular season with a concussion, and more than likely isn't 100% recovered.

Game 2 between the Predators and Wings ought to be interesting.

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