Lost in the bliss that is everyone outside of New England, this took place in Chicago last night in a preseason hockey game that meant little to either team that participated in it.
The reason I post this is not to throw barbs at the Red Wings fanbase… because I would love to do just that. No. Instead, the reason I post this is because Brendan Shanahan is the new guy in the NHL walking up and down 30 desks with a ruler slapping in his palm. Shanny has taken over Colin Campbell’s role as Vice President of Hockey and Business Development and head disciplinarian. He’s also doing a helluva job in that role and we haven’t even dropped the puck on the games that matter yet.
Shanahan has suspended seven players already this preseason for hits or actions that he feels no longer belong in the sport of professional hockey. It began with Jody Shelley of the Philadelphia Flyers who leveled a major boarding hit in a game against Toronto. Shanahan removed him from the remainder of the preseason and he’ll also sit the first five games of the regular season. Now, Jody Shelley is what some people might refer to as a goon.
Steve James Wisniewski on the other hand? The Columbus Blue Jackets paid him a pretty large sum of money to make a difference on their blue line. He’s going to forfeit a solid chunk of that money because Brendan Shanahan is attempting to rid the beautiful game of ugly pockmarks that have stained it over the last couple of seasons.
Colin Campbell thought discipline was as simple as picking a number of games for a player to sit and then issuing a press release stating just that. Brendan Shanahan would like you to step into his office and hear the exact methodology he used in coming up with your suspension. Yes. I mean you, the fan.
How’s that for transparency?
Even if you’re not a puckhead, you know that the world’s greatest player is currently on the shelf because David Steckel and Victor Hedman scrambled his eggs into a Western Omelet. Hockey needs Crosby. It also needs Ben Smith. And Cal Clutterbuck. Go ahead, say that name a few times and try not to laugh. With the nation’s most popular sport putting concussions in the spotlight, North America’s niche sport is doing its damnedest to drop the curtain on the same light.
Brendan Shanahan has done more in two weeks of preseason hockey than Colin Campbell did in 12 years. Forget giving the NHL’s executive of the year award to another Presidents Trophy winner. Let’s give it to Shanny for making the game we love that much safer for the players that play it.
I think Brendan Smith’s phone just rang.