NHL's Suspension of Andrew Shaw Is Wrong

Sean McDermottContributor IIIApril 17, 2012

Andrew Shaw was slapped with a 3-game suspension after his collision with Phoenix Coyotes goalie Mike Smith.
Andrew Shaw was slapped with a 3-game suspension after his collision with Phoenix Coyotes goalie Mike Smith.Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The latest NHL suspension—Chicago Blackhawks forward Andrew Shaw—is plain out despicable.

I understand rule 69.2 of the NHL which states,

"In all cases in which an attacking player initiates intentional or deliberate contact with a goalkeeper, whether or not the goalkeeper is inside or outside the goal crease, and whether or not a goal is scored, the attacking player will receive a penalty (minor or major as the Referee deems appropriate)."

However, Shaw's contact with Coyote netminder Mike Smith was not intentional.

Shaw did exactly what rule 69.4 states:

"A goalkeeper is not “fair game” just because he is outside the goal crease. The appropriate penalty should be assessed in every case where an attacking player makes unnecessary contact with the goalkeeper. However, incidental contact will be permitted when the goalkeeper is in the act of playing the puck outside his goal crease provided the attacking player has made a reasonable effort to avoid such unnecessary contact."

In the video, you can see Shaw skating after the puck, which was being handled by Mike Smith. Close examination shows Smith is passing the puck towards the advancing Shaw. As Smith passes the puck to a teammate, he moves a few inches toward the boards. 

Shaw notices the puck is passed, but because of his earlier pursuit, his momentum glides him towards a collision with the Coyote goalie. In Shaw's defense, he tried to slow up by assuming a more upright position, and tried to move toward the boards.

One thing is clear in the video: Phoenix Coyotes goalie Mike Smith deserves a Razzie for his faking of a serious injury. Watching a 6'3", 211 pound man rolling around—acting as though he were seriously hurt—was embarrassing to watch on national TV. It was also just ridiculous, if you put a tale of the tape between Mike Smith and Andrew Shaw.

Mike Smith: 6'3", 211 pounds

Andrew Shaw: 5'10", 180 pounds

Two things are being questioned by hockey fans—especially Blackhawks fans. 1. Did the NHL suspend Shaw because they own the Coyotes and wanted to promote the team? 2. Why didn't Shea Weber get suspended?

1. As every hockey fan knows, the Coyotes are owned by the NHL, but to say that the NHL did this so the Coyotes can win the series—in hopes of promoting interest in the team—is ridiculous.

Shaw is a great young player, but he's a third line forward who only scored 12 goals along with 11 assists in 37 games played, which isn't that impressive. Also, the NHL wants views, and the Blackhawks—one of the original six teams—have an impressive fan base worldwide, which provides the NHL with views Phoenix can't match.

2. Shea Weber is a repeat offender. Weber's actions on Henrik Zetterberg at the end of Game 1 were many times worse than Shaw's collision.

Weber is a dirty player. At the end of Game 1, Weber threw a punch at Zetterberg, than grabbed his skull and slammed it into the glass. The NHL should have slapped him with a three-game suspension and a fine.

The NHL totally got this suspension wrong. Shaw is innocent, and Weber is far from it. The NHL once again showed a lack of consistency and failed to give out appropriate suspensions and fines.