Andrew Shaw: Stiff Punishment Prompted by over-the-Top Reaction to Hit
The Andrew Shaw hit was an illegal hit, but had Mike Smith not acted like someone detonated a grenade under his hockey mask—there would be no suspension.
I was afraid to see Smith's face after the injury. Based on his reaction, I expected to see a mangled mess that resembled Jason Vorhees. Instead, I felt like I'd just watched Paul Pierce get wheeled out of TD Garden—only to return shortly afterwards.
The fact that Smith played later in the game and is going to play in Game 3—shows there was little damage done.
"I don't feel that we are in the punishment business. I feel we are in the changing-player-behavior business. And you do that by getting someone's attention."
Suspending a player for three games in a playoff series should be for a pretty severe infraction.
In my opinion—that's not what this was.
It has been communicated to players that the goalie is not fair game. So understandably, a penalty is in order, and even a fine because of the contact to the head.
Considering the fighting and rough play that has been a staple of these playoffs—this play was mild.
A warning like this should have been issued to all teams and players: "We need to clean up the play. We've let some things go without proper punishment. But going forward, it will be called tighter."
If that warning was issued, this suspension would be more acceptable.
Instead, the NHL based this off an Oscar-worthy interpretation of an Altered States mutation. The way Smith reacted grabbed the attention of viewers, and it made this a higher-profile issue than it needed to be.
With the spotlight firmly on him, Shanahan made an example of Andrew Shaw.
Wrong place, wrong crime at the wrong time.
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