Don’t Grade Brendan Shanahan On A Curve And Tonight’s Line Combinations

Improvements to NHL Disciplinary System are Welcome But More are Still Needed

Yesterday, Greg Wyshynski and Jeff Marek, as part of their daily Puck Daddy podcast talked about how they’d grade new NHL Disciplinary Head Brendan Shanahan. Both offered qualified praise and graded him fairly well – seven and eight on a scale of ten. Guest Jesse Spector of The Sporting News also contributed an eight to the discussion. But all three made the categorical mistake of grading Shanahan for what he isn’t opposed to what he is.

What he isn’t is Colin Campbell. And that’s a good start. But a start is all it is. The institution of video explanations is excellent, as well. And we’re starting to see some greater consistency. But the primary problem that existing under Campbell remains — rulings on discipline are too subjective.

It’s an unenviable job, that Shanahan has been given. He has to balance the best interests of the game, with the marching orders from the Board of Governors. Their instructions necessarily take precedence; it’s quite literally their game. We just love it.

That’s why I give Shanahan an incomplete. He’s made progress. He’s doing things right. But I’d like to see more consistent, objective application of the rules as a starting point. Here’s a few other ways that Shanny, the League and the players can continue to improve.

  • An appeals system – as noted by Spector, the appeals system is what Don Fehr is used to from his baseball background. It’s likely a point the players will insist on in the next CBA.
  • Delays in punishment while injury severity is assessed – if the league wants to punish based on harm done, especially with head injuries, then taking the necessary time to evaluate the health of the injured player is necessary. Some head injuries don’t show up within the 24 hour period in which judgement is typically rendered, further muddying the standard used.
  • Additional transparency – the league suffers when P.K. Subban gets off free and clear for play that has merited suspensions, such as the elbow to David Kreijci. If a play warrants a suspension for one person, then it should warrant one for all. Prior bad acts

Below the fold, you’ll find Tonight’s Line Combinations – our compilation of links from around the NHL

Before we get to today’s lines, a sad note, courtesy our Bloguin Comrades at the New York Rangers Blog. We at Puck Drunk Love wish to extend our sincere condolences to NHL Legend Phil Esposito and his family.

Tonight’s Line Combinations

First Line

Second Line

Check Line

Energy Line

We hope you’ve enjoyed the look around the league. This may become a regular feature, so your opinion on what you’d like to see matters to us. Feel free to leave a comment.