Lesson Learned: A Brief Look at NHL Discipline

We have all had high hopes for the Brendan Shanahan era on NHL discipline. It took until November 14th for me to lose all faith yet again. We won't sepnd too much time on this, as the Ryan Miller  / Milan Lucic incident has little to nothing to do with the Wild, and I don't really feel Lucic should have been suspended anyway.

However, the lesson is not that Lucic did nothing wrong, the lesson is that if you play for an "important" team, and tell Shanny that you didn't mean to do it, that matters. If you play for a nothing team, and you say you didn't mean to, it no longer matters.

Our case in point is Pierre-Marc Bouchard, who was suspended for two games, and the Milan Lucic hit, which resulted in zero punishment.

Video and discussion after the jump.

First, let's look at the Bouchard incident again:

Clearly, Calvert raises Bouchard's stick into his own face, right? Shanahan says that doesn't matter. It was a reckless act and it caused injury, thus suspension, even if there was no intent. Here's the video from Shanahan to refresh your memory (See the 45 second to 1:05 mark for your evidence of that):

 

Now, the Lucic hit on Miller:

(Video from Puck daddy)

Lucic's way out? This, from Pro Hockey Talk:

"I had the hearing because I did make an initial assessment of the play as I do with all plays, but I did have some questions for Milan and I wanted to hear directly from him," Shanahan told NHL.com. "They were regarding his intent; at what point did he know there was going to be a collision; and whether or not he felt he had the time to avoid the collision. I was satisfied with his answers."

Lucic has said it wasn't his plan to run over Miller.

"I blocked a shot and pushed the puck a little too far ahead of me and I skated after the puck as fast as I possibly could," Lucic said, as per the Boston Herald. " I looked up and he was still in his net. I looked down at the puck and was continuing on and the next thing I knew, I looked up and he's coming out full speed at me."

So, Lucic didn't mean to charge another player (forget that Miller is a goalie, it doesn't matter), cause an injury and knock a player out for an indefinite time. Sure he didn't. Still, in the Bouchard video, Shanahan makes it clear that a reckless act that results in injury is grounds for suspension, regardless of intent.

That is, unless you play for the Bruins. Or maybe it is because Ryan Miller didn't run over himself. Either way, the conflict in reasoning is already established. We all felt Shanahan was going to bring some consistency to the job. That, apparently, is not the case. Nothing consistent is found from one suspension to another, and the league once again is running discipline without regard to the message they are sending to the players and fans.

Time to pull the Wheel of Justice out of storage.

Wheelofjustice_medium

(Image courtesy of Hockey Joe) - Maybe it's time to superimpose Shanahan's face.

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