Seasons come and seasons go. Legends are born and they die. Eras are recorded and they fade away. With the birth of a new upcoming season, there’s also a new era being formed. The era of the #Shanaban. When Colin Campbell stepped down, the NHL needed to fill the head disciplinarian’s position with someone who would be fair and level headed. They looked for someone who could tackle the serious hot button issue of controversy that has been the talk of the off season: head shots. Weather intentionally given or not, head shots are out of control, and it’s a serious issue. It has just recently come to light so heavily because of so many concussions in the past season. Our minds automatically get a mental picture of Sidney Crosby when the topic is brought up.
This has always been an issue in the NHL. Many men with full potential and a great career ahead of them have been forced into early retirement. Just ask our very own Brian Bradley. He had a great career cut short in part because of Post Concussion Syndrome. Personally, I am glad that they are finally taking this seriously and speaking out against it. Tough guys get hurt too, and it’s ok to take preventative measures. With that said, however, as long as there is hockey, there will be concussions. It is a fast moving sport with a lot of adrenaline flowing. There will always be hi-sticking, tripping, hooking, checks, hard hits into the wall, and fights. A good hockey fight is just part of the game. Always has been, always will be. Look out Steve Downie, there’s a new sheriff in town, and he’s not playing games. He means what he says and he follows through with his actions. This guy makes Walker, Texas Ranger look like a cup cake.
Who is this man you ask? Former NHL Star Brendan Shanahan, that’s who.
Brendan Frederick Shanahan, or “Shanny”, is a retired Canadian hockey player who played both left and right wing. He is currently the NHL’s Vice President of Hockey and Business Development and head disciplinarian. He was drafted second overall in the 1987 NHL Entry Draft by the New Jersey Devils. He also played with the St. Louis Blues, the Hartford Whalers, and the New York Rangers. He spent most of his career with the Detroit Red Wings where he won three Stanley Cup Championships. When he retired he was the leader among active NHL players with six hundred and fifty-six goals in over fifteen hundred games. He’s the only player in histroy to have over six hundred goals and two thousand penalty minutes. He spent twenty one years playing in the NHL. He is one of the few members of the elite Triple Gold Club. (Stanley Cup, World Championship, and Olympic Gold Medal.)
There is no question as to his experience with the penalty box
. Is he a prime candidate for this job? Absolutely. My question, is he taking this a big too far? Discipline needs to be issued, but to what extent? The preseason has been full of suspensions. The puck hasn’t even dropped on the regular season yet, and there’s already been almost ten suspensions given out. The #Shanahammer is coming down folks, and it’s slamming hard. I’ve interviewed several people about the rules and the way they feel that Mr. Shanahan is handling the penalties. I asked off record a variety of sources their opinions. From local and national sports media, NHL players, sports journalists for the newspapers, to fans from different teams, who will all remain anonymous, their opinions differed from one extreme to the other. Some positive, some not. Here are some quotes that stuck out to me: “I think what Mr. Shanahan is doing is great. As a defensive player myself, I would like to thank him for working harder and looking out for our safety.” “I don’t disagree with what he’s doing, (but) I think that as time goes on, they (the players and GM’s that are backing him up right now) will turn their backs on him.” “It’s about time that someone is cracking down. Brendan Shanahan is going to save a life. Possibly mine or a teammate.” “Oh it’s absolutely ridiculous! The players are going to be scared to run into each other! They won’t be able to handle the puck because they’ll be too concerned about tapping an opponent. It’s HOCKEY, not flag football. He’s turning the NHL into a circus.” “His reasoning and ideas are great. But too much of something is not always a good thing. I just hope that the game doesn’t get watered down and boring.” “I think it’s consistent at least. There was an assumed level of “soft discipline” under the last reign of terror of league discipline.. so coming down harder than what may seem normal might be the case, but honestly…hits to the head, regardless of intent imo should yield a penalty of 5 games minimum.” and “He might be going a little overboard to an extent, but some of it does need to be cracked down on. Like the Smith on Smith? I don’t think he went overboard there, but some of it yeah.”
There’s already a hashtag on Twitter poking fun of the iron fist called #shanaban. I looked it up and wrote a few of the Tweets down. Here’s what NHL fans are saying: “Hide yo wife Hide yo Kids It’s #shanahammertime #shanaban” “The NHL has created a monster, and it’s name is #shanaban! Tread carefully, NHLers, for you skate on thin ice!” “#shanaban struck again while I was at work???” “This demands a #shanaban” “Anyone else think that suspensions should be a fantasy stat this year? #shanaban” “So when there’s a #shanaban we don’t agree with, can we call shanahanigans on it?” ” “NEW” #NHL has become a joke. #shanaban” “The #Shanaban is the greatest thing to come out of the NHL this off season. I mean really.”
Brad Boyes spoke out regarding his suspension saying “I agree with it, even though mine was a tough one,” Boyes said. “I did make contact with the guy’s head. They’re trying to get that out of the game, and I have no problem with that. I’m in favor of getting rid of those plays that not only hurt guys on the ice but really affect them off the ice, as well.
“(Shanahan is) sending a message that guys can’t run around being stupid out there. It’s a matter of life off the ice now, too.”
Read the full article on msn.foxsports.com here.
There is a Twitter account dedicated to @NHLShanaBan . The profile reads: Senior VP of Player Safety, NHL Vlogger, dispenser of Shanabans, wielder of the Shanahammer. Not Brendan Shanahan. Here are two of his tweets: “So when I suspend a player and he gets waived the same day, that’s called #shanabanishment, right? By the way, Happy Birthday, Tom Sestito.” and “Betts gave me a heart pat on the back today. I told him “Any harder and it woulda been 2 games.” He laughed. I was serious.” I follow this account just for fun! Another account I follow is @Shanabans. He’s both funny and informative. On his website Shanabans.com you can keep track of all of the suspensions handed out, complete with the Offending player’s name, Defending player, Rule Violated, Games Suspended, Salary Forfeited, and the Shanahan Ruling. It even has if the player was injured or not, and if they are repeat offenders or not. It’s a great site!
I also follow the real Brendan Shanahan. You can too at @NHLShanahan. Though I have brought up both sides in this article, and even made a little fun of the situation, I have the most respect for Mr. Shanahan. I very much like how with every suspension, he doesn’t just hand them out and move on. He takes the time to explain to us the reasoning for his decisions and actions. He explains the incident while showing video replay. He tells us the “Key Points”, type of violation, situation surrounding it, he takes into consideration if the hit was intentional or not, if the player was injured, and the violator’s disciplinary past. I will end this with a thank you to Mr. Shanahan for all of his hard work, but also keep in mind, that this is hockey. Hits will happen. Players, be careful. Please don’t make the sport a dead sport. I don’t want to have to watch tennis with hockey sticks. Here is the latest video explaining the Clarke MacArthur suspension: Brendan Shanahan Explanation Of The Clarke MacArthur Suspension from NHL.com
I would love to hear your comments on this article, and your thoughts on Brendan Shanahan’s regime. You can contact me on Twitter at @huladolly, Facebook at Hula Doll , or email me at [email protected]