The NHL's Senior Vice President and overseer of Player Safety and Hockey Operations, Brendan Shanahan, released some comments yesterday regarding his decision not to suspend New York Rangers forward Wojtek Wolski for an illegal blow to Daniel Alfredsson's head.
According to Shanahan:
“Well I just had a conversation with Daniel Alfredsson again today on this. This is about education as well. Wolski is not a dirty player and has no history of being a dirty player. There are collisions that occur on the ice where unfortunately, when one player sees it just prior… on this play here, Wolski has to get out to his point… you see here, Gaborik, the left-winger has to come all the way over to Wolski’s point on the right side because Wolski’s not there. He ran into Alfredsson trying to get there. We’ve seen enough of these now and I don’t like these… but we’ve seen enough of them where when one players sees it just prior, he just tenses up and sometimes he even leans in because he’s bracing for an impact. When both guys see it, it’s two guys tensing up – both guys bounce off of each other and everybody’s fine. It’s really unfortunate here when one player doesn’t see it and the other one does. Now if I felt that it was intentional or if it wasn’t at the last instant just prior… if I ever felt that there was any sort of sneakiness or history of these types of offences by Wolski, he would have been suspended.”It's even more unfortunate when everyone else sees it and the disciplinarian doesn't...
Senators fans are pissed off and deservedly so. This very well could be Daniel Alfredsson's final season in Ottawa and it's a shame to see him spend part of it on the sidelines with a concussion.
The elbow was intentional. It was at the last instant just prior. The 'sneaky' nature of the hit has been pointed out by others. Are we supposed to feel better knowing that the only reputation that matters to Shanahan is that Wolski is better known for being a proverbial dog fucker and chronic underachiever than being a dirty player?
(Sigh) I would tell fans to move on and get over this but I'm the guy who keeps penning articles linking the Sens to Kyle Turris.
The explanation that Shanahan offered was just salt in the wound.
Here's the video footage of the explanation below:
The thing I don't get is the elbow to the head. You can't "brace" for a hit by putting out your elbow. You also don't have to be "dirty" or "sneaky" to make a horribly wrong split-second decision, which is what I believe Wolski did.
The onus HAS to be on Wolski to brace for a hit with his elbow down. It should be like a high stick; skate around with your stick in the air and it's legal until you hit someone in the face. Pretty sure I was taught never to take a hit by putting up your elbow, stick or fists when I was a kid.
If you look closely, you can actually see Gary Bettman's hand up Shanahan's arse and his lips moving in synchronization...
Let's face it, Shanahan is a puppet of the owners. He's allowed to go after those with a "reputation" but has been told by the league and the owners to "back off" after his suspension-fest during the preseason. If you don't think Bettman had a chat with him on the negative consequences of suspending James Wysnewski on Columbus' season, you're naive.
Met the old boss, he's just like the old boss...
Since I'm a Sens fan and obviously biased, I'm going to base my opinion on what neutral parties seem to think. I don' t remember seeing a case where the league did not suspend a player and there was such a unanimous outcry from people all around the league, not just from the fans of the team involved.
Every media outlet and fan seems to agree, regardless of what team they are affiliated with (except Steve Simmons, whose opinion on hockey I value less than my grandmother's).
The thing that confuses me is that the league has made head shots a priority, and this was clearly a head shot. Other hits in the past 6 weeks have gotten 4, 5, and 8 games, yet this is somehow zero games. Watching the video explanation is painful. I have a lot of respect for Shanny, and what he's tried to do in the past 2 months, but this one really confuses me. The explanation that he braced himself at the last second just makes no sense on any level. All you're doing with that explanation is opening up a door for everyone to use as a cop out for late hits. If you suspend Wolski here you send the message that it's a player's responsibility to avoid a hit to the head regardless of the situation or timing.
Shame on Shanahan. His explaination is laughable.
Wolski didn't head for the point till after he took out Alfie, unless you count the side step he took to ensure contact. In fact from the bottom of the faceoff circle Wolski only takes the one stride necessary to to move into Alfie's path then coasts till he steps into the hit. If he heads for the near point there's no contact. If he races for the far point there's no contact. Wolski sets a coarse and speed that have nothing to do with his defensive responsibilities, steps into the hit and delivers a head shot with his elbow.
When you consider that Alfie is in Wolski's vision the entire time there is only one conclusion. The only person Shanahan is fooling is himself.