UPDATE: Brendan Shanahan did the wrong thing. Thursday afternoon he ruled that Weber would have to pay a $2500 fine but suffer no suspension. I understand his reticence to levy a suspension. Here are the mitigating factors.
- It occurred as the horn was about to blow ending the game.
- Weber is an important player for the Predators team and their captain.
- Zetterberg is an important player for the Wings. When Detroit was asked by the league whether Zetterberg was injured and likely to miss time, the Wings coaching staff was handcuffed by the truth, and said that Zetterberg was likely to play in game two.
- It happens in the first period. Weber likely gets a game misconduct and is out for rest of the game. Suspension there depends on whether Z can play game two. If all things were equal, he’d be fined but not suspended. The difference being the Preds play without Weber for part of a game.
- If it happens earlier and Z is knocked out of the game, Weber gets his game misconduct and probably another game on top of it.
- If it happens just as it did but against a guy like Emmerton or Miller, perhaps the Wings fudge the truth and say that kid can’t play game two because they can afford to trade a fourth line winger for the opponent’s best defenseman and captain. Does the league suspend Weber then?
The NHL has been dealing with head injuries the last couple of seasons with the concussions to some of the best players in the league, including its best player Sidney Crosby. The league has taken a strong, albeit inconsistent, approach to players who deliberately target a player’s head. An aggravating factor is when the targeted player is also defenseless, as in the case of a player facing the boards.
Last night, as the game was in the final seconds, Nashville defenseman Shay Weber brutally slammed the head of Detroit’s best player that night, Henrik Zetterberg, into the glass. Zetterberg immediately dropped to his knees. He appears to be OK, which should in no way limit the discipline the league doles out to Weber. Clearly I am a Red Wing fan and that such a suspension would benefit my favored team, but frankly this is more about head safety and being consistent. There is no place for this type of hit. I, as much as anyone, appreciate solid and even violent hits. But when a player intentionally tries to injure a defenseless player by hitting him in the back of the head, then the league must be swift and firm in its discipline. So what say you, Brendan Shanahan?
Here it is.