Shea Weber head slammed Henrik Zetterberg during Game One Wednesday night. His blatant intent to injure caused an uproar among hockey fans. It was a harsh head slam John Cena was taking notes on.
The biggest question following the WWE move was: What was Shanahan going to do?
Ultimately, the former Red Wing and current head disciplinarian and Vice President of Hockey and Business Development fined Weber $2,500. The number is low, yes, in comparison to someone cursing and expressing their $20,000 opinion (I’m looking at you, John Tortorella). However, it is the highest amount a player can be fined under the NHL’s collective bargaining agreement, and Weber isn’t going to see a suspension.
The most similar situation this ordeal can be compared to is when Zdeno Chara of the Bruins hit Max Pacioretty of the Canadiens into the boards last March, and didn’t see a suspension, either. Not only did Chara garner backlash, but a criminal investigation was launched by the Montreal police force.
Shanahan didn’t handle Chara’s situation, Campbell was still in charge and he didn’t make the final decision because his son Gregory Campbell was on the Bruins’ roster. Senior Vice President Mike Murphy handled it.
“I could not find any evidence to suggest that, beyond this being a correct call for interference, that Chara targeted the head of his opponent, left his feet, or delivered the check in any other manner that could be deemed to be dangerous,” he released in a statement.
Ok, benefit of the doubt, maybe Chara was just finishing his check and the positioning and the boards were bad timing for everyone and that’s how the league saw it. I’ll let the NHL front office logic take the wheel in this situation.
Fast forward to now and $2,500 later. How much have we heard about how head shots and targeted head shots will be taken care of under Shanahan? I was expecting at the very least a game suspension. Or a game and a fine. Would Weber be suspended if Zetterberg were injured? Why wasn’t Weber punished to the fullest possible extent? He used his hands to slam someone’s head into the boards, it’s not like he got caught weirdly boarding someone, or lifted from the ice. This seemed premeditated.
In other news, Byron Bitz Vancouver Canucks forward was suspended for two games for boarding Los Angeles Kings forward Kyle Clifford who is expected to miss at least one game from the hit.
The GMs need to be taking notes for the meetings next year, so while they’re all sitting on the beach discussing how they need to add a trapezoid in the back of the net, they can look to remedy the head shot epidemic in the NHL.