Brendan Shanahan had to sacrifice someone at the altar of the Hockey Gods.
Saturday it became Raffi Torres. The Phoenix Coyotes forward was suspended 25 games for his hit to the head of Chicago Blackhawks forward Marian Hossa in Game 3 of their quarterfinal series Tuesday night in Chicago. This suspension is tied for the second longest in NHL history.
Shanahan was forced to make this sacrifice because of his sins of omission when dealing with disciplinary decisions earlier in the playoffs. After only one week of the Stanley Cup playoffs, Shanahan had reviewed egregious acts by Nashville Predators defenseman Shea Weber and Ottawa Senators defenseman Matt Carkner, as well as two different incidents from the same game involving Pittsburgh Penguins forward James Neal.
But Shanahan was extremely passive in his punishment of all four incidents. So when the Torres incident occurred, he had to overcompensate for the weak suspensions he had already delivered. In fact, the 25 games Shanahan suspended Raffi Torres was roughly equal to the suspensions he should have handed down for the four previous incidents.
Take a look at all five incidents, and you will see the number of games each player should have received as a suspension, along with an explanation.