Detroit Red Wings

NHL: Brendan Shanahan Already Making a Better Mark Than Predecessor Campbell

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 17:  Former New York Ranger and current NHL Executive Brendan Shanahan looks on prior to the New York Rangers hosting the Washington Capitals in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Madison Square Garden on April 17, 2011 in New York City.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
Isaac SmithAnalyst ISeptember 24, 2011

NHL Senior Vice President of Player Safety Brendan Shanahan has wasted little time in getting off on the right foot in his new role as NHL disciplinarian.

Shanahan and NHLPA representative Mathieu Schneider released a couple videos about the new boarding rules as well as illegal hits to the head.

Not surprisingly, these new rules have already been broken, and Shanahan dished out two suspensions this preseason: One to Jody Shelley, and one to Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond.

Shanahan's duty is to keep players safe, and to suspend players if necessary.

But by creating videos to explain the recent suspensions of Jody Shelley and Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond, Shanahan has gone above and beyond his duty.

Honestly, I couldn't be happier with the league's decision to have Shanahan take over the role of disciplinarian, because unlike his disciplinary predecessor Colin Campbell, Shanahan will likely not be second guessed by fans or media because of the videos that he creates.

Through his first two suspensions, Shanahan seems to have a firmer grasp on how serious these rules are in the game.

He takes his role seriously, and he explains what he is doing in each of the videos he has made.

The new rule changes to the boarding and illegal checks to the head have also undoubtedly helped Shanahan be more specific in his judgments.

But even last year, it seemed as though Colin Campbell was publicly criticized for suspending (or in some cases not suspending) players because his suspensions were usually not an appropriate length.

I wrote an article last season about how it was time for Campbell to step down because it seemed there was nothing he could do to make the game safer for players.

Then Campbell actually stepped down on June 1st of this year.

Shanahan was put in the position of disciplinarian, and I wasn't sure if things were going to get better in the NHL before they got worse.

I only had my doubts about "Shanny" because I had seen him getting into fights in his "heyday" with the Detroit Red Wings.

But Shanahan has surpassed my expectations.

I applaud the effort he puts in to make the game safer, and if his video series continues in the right direction, we could see him actually succeed in eliminating boarding and blindside hits to the head from the NHL.

 

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