Andrew Shaw was suspended for three games for his hit on the Phoenix Coyotes’ Mike Smith on April 14 during the second period of Game 2 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals:
Shaw was given a major penalty and a game misconduct for the hit.
According to Brendan Shanahan, “[t]he contact made by Shaw is not incidental. Rather, it is a forceful blow delivered by Shaw’s shoulder to Smith’s chin. Also, in our opinion, Shaw does not make a reasonable effort to avoid such contact.” For the entire explanation of the suspension, click here.
Now, if we’re just looking at the suspension by itself, I’m okay with it.
…Wait, no, don’t go to the comments section yet and yell at me! Let me explain!
I don’t think that he made the effort he should have to slow down and minimize the hit. No, I’m not suggesting that he fly over Smith like he was Michael Jordan or anything, but he should’ve pumped his brakes, at least. As for the suggestion that Smith was somehow selling the hit — I’m not even going into that. (However, if you watch the suspension video, note that Shanahan says that Smith “suffered no apparent injury” just as they show Smith flailing and grabbing his head.)
However, this suspension does not exist in a vacuum. This is a three game suspension after Shanahan gave Shea Weber a fine for this and giving Matt Carkner one game for this. It would be nice if there was some consistency in punishment, NHL, especially in the playoffs.
Now, some people are calling for blood — that the Blackhawks should go out and try to intentionally injure Smith and the other Coyotes. I’m not joining in on that, because that is absolutely disgusting. The best thing for the Blackhawks to do is to score early and often on Smith. That’s all.