Detroit Red Wings: Smith Banned 8 Games, Did They Make the Right Call?

Jordan MatthewsAnalyst IIISeptember 30, 2011

NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 29: Brendan Smith #2 of the Detroit Red Wings skates in warmups prior to his game against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on September 29, 2010 in New York City. The Rangers defeated the Red Wings 5-1.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Early on Friday afternoon, the NHL announced that they had suspended Detroit Red Wings defenseman Brendan Smith for eight games after delivering an illegal hit to the head on Chicago Blackhawks forward Ben Smith.

The reasoning for Smith's suspension was that while Ben Smith did change position just before the hit took place, it wasn't enough to excuse making Brendan's shoulder making contact with Ben's head.

Smith's suspension of eight games will consist of the final three preseason games, and an additional five regular season games.

Starting with the good, since taking over player safety and discipline, Brendan Shanahan has done a great job of explaining his reasoning for suspensions through video on

Most of the time when Colin Campbell would or wouldn't enforce a suspension, fans were left wondering what his reasoning was for his decision, and never got a clear explanation.

Moving on to the bad, while there's no doubt there should have been a suspension, I think the NHL may have been a little harsh on Smith.

For starters, Shanahan notes in his explanation, and you can clearly see in the replays, that Smith was going for a hit to Ben Smith's shoulder.

At the last second, Ben Smith not only changes his direction, but he stutters his movement. If Smith had continued his path, Brendan's timing would've landed a shoulder to shoulder hit.

In addition, you can see Brendan's shoulder brush Ben's before hitting his head. While Brendan Smith obviously made contact with Ben Smith's head, Brendan Shanahan himself has said the NHL agrees that Smith didn't intend to target the head.

For a hit such as this that appears to be accidental, an eight-game suspension may be a little bit of overkill. In addition, other repeat offenders have delivered similar hits in the preseason and received a similar suspension that Brendan Smith received as a first-time offender.

Of course, there's always the possibility that Brendan Shanahan, feeling under pressure due to the idea that people could see him as biased, felt he had to give Brendan Smith a harsher punishment to keep his reputation in good standing with fans.

Regardless, while Brendan Smith should have received some sort of suspension, it's certainly questionable if he got more than he deserved.

Tell us what you think. Should Brendan Smith have received such a harsh punishment? Leave a comment below!

Jordan Matthews is a fan of the NHL and the Detroit Red Wings. For more NHL coverage, you can become a fan of Jordan on Bleacher Report and follow him on Twitter.