Andrew Shaw: NHL Makes Demand for Cleaner Play Clear with 3-Game Suspension
The NHL is not going to tolerate contact being made with a goalie, whether the player claims it is incidental or not.
NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan has suspended Chicago Blackhawks forward Andrew Shaw for his collision with Coyotes goaltender Mike Smith in Game 2 of their first round series, according to the Washington Post.
Smith had the puck well out of the crease and behind the net when Shaw skated in and caught Smith in the head with his shoulder.
Smith fell to the ice and remained there for five minutes. He was able to resume playing, but that didn't save Shaw from his suspension. Neither did the fact that Shaw claimed it was incidental.
Yahoo Sports' Sean Leahy offered up this quote from Shaw:
(I told Shanahan) that I tried getting out of the way. It wasn't the intent of hitting him, it was more of I didn't have enough time to get out of the way. I let (Shanahan) know next time I'll go in there with a little bit more control. I'm just waiting to hear the news.
Was this suspension justified?
Shaw's claims that the contact was incidental is believable enough, but that is not the point of this suspension. The message is clear: Hitting a goalie is not acceptable, whether it was intentional or not.
And this was a message that needed to be sent after Boston's Milan Lucic did not receive a suspension for his collision with Buffalo's goalkeeper Ryan Miller. Shanahan came under heavy criticism for his inaction after that event, and he clearly listened.
This type of heavy-handed discipline will work. A three-game suspension is going to grab the attention of players, and slowly but surely it will change the way the game is played.
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