He was getting into some Habs' faces, needling them, perhaps asking them to drop their gloves. Maybe he was in a bad mood, I don't really know. I can't get into his head, and I'm not professing to be able to.
It just appeared to me—and perhaps others—that he was in a mood to fight.
Malone got his fight. He won it handily, in fact. Josh Gorges was bloodied at the forehead by Malone’s hands and the latter was pumped.
Good for him!
All it took was a shoulder delivered directly to Chris Campoli’s head and a show of bravery by the smaller Canadiens’ defenseman while standing up for his teammate.
I truly believe that Brendan Shanahan is doing a fantastic job as the head NHL disciplinarian. I love the video explanations of the suspensions that he’s handed out and I love that he is doing his best to protect the league’s players from getting hurt.
In this case, though, Shanahan made a mistake.
Shanahan stated: “...[W]e felt that Malone had committed to the hit when Campoli was upright. However, when the contact was made, Campoli's head position significantly changed just prior to the hit."
I didn't really see it that way. In fact, I looked for that change in Campoli's head position after I read the official statement. I couldn't find it.
Brendan Shanahan knows what he's looking for. More importantly, he does not have any bias towards any team: much more than I can say.
I write about the Montreal Canadiens. I watch more of their games than any other team. I am as objective as possible, but, at the end of the day, I have a soft spot for the Habs.
Shanahan doesn’t have any hidden agendas but he's also human and we are not perfect.
Ryan Malone has no previous suspensions. He has a clean sheet, so to speak, and so is less likely to be a perpetrator of intent.
But he was acting as an aggressor for the entire game: Shouldn't that be weighed into consideration?
Once Ryan Malone was exhausted of his testosterone, even he thought he'd be getting a call from Shanny.
I think he knows what he did was wrong and is probably thankful that he's gotten a pass. I don't think he'll be doing it again.
More importantly, Chris Campoli seems to be suffering no after-effects from the reckless hit. He has expressed his discontent with the non-suspension.
At the end of the day, Habs fans should just move on. What's done is done. There is no conspiracy, only coincidence.
So let's just leave it at that and hope that the opposition doesn't think that they can smack the Habs silly and get away with it: I don't want to see any injuries, let alone preventable ones.
I’m thankful that Campoli wasn’t the victim of one in a game that meant next to nothing.
Jason is on Twitter: Follow @jhytel