You can attack NHL Sheriff Brendan Shanahan for many different things, but you can no longer say he lacks the stones to suspend one of the NHLs stars at a pivotal point in the playoffs.
Thats about as gutsy as you can get.
Anybody within shouting distance of the Liberty Bell certainly had issues with Shanahan suspending Claude Giroux for his head shot on Dainius Zubrus, and there were even whispers of a league conspiracy against the Flyers. But it was clearly a suspendable offense with a clearly agitated Giroux taking out his frustrations on the nearest Devils skater at the most opportune moment.
Shanahan has endured some verbal barbs and critical daggers after failing to suspend Shea Weber or Evgeni Malkin for borderline plays earlier in the playoffs. The criticism was pretty clear: there is a superstar caste system in place for the NHL lawmakers and they wont lay down the superstar on hockeys favored sons.
But that argument is out the window now.
Shanahan ruled courageously and correctly in sitting Giroux out for a pivotal Game 5 that ultimately led to Philadelphias elimination at the hands of New Jersey. Giroux was in the conversation for the Conn Smythe Trophy and still leads the playoff field with 17 points in 10 playoff games for the now eliminated Flyers.
Predictably the Flyers crumbled without their leader and best offensive player, and now theyll have an entire offseason to sharpen their arguments in Philly about how they got screwed royally by the league. But in truth this was Shanahan learning from going too easily on Weber earlier during the playoffs, and thats all anybody can really ask for.
Plenty of people will scream that Malkin or James Neal should have been strung up if Giroux was guilty of a suspendable offense, but hindsight is something the NHL Player Safety Department simply doesnt have.
I cant imagine what the @ replies read like in Shanahans NHL twitter account: Im outraged that Shanny wont suspend the superstars paired equally with Im outraged Shanny could suspend Giroux for a game and sentence the Flyers to playoff death. Never mind the fact that anyone in Philadelphia is letting Giroux off the hook for a poorly-timed action, Shanahan cant win the popularity battle while making difficult, correct decisions during these playoffs.
Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while knowing that “Saturdays are for the boys” no longer exists once you are married with kids…except during glorious bachelor party weekends, which are few and far between.
*Congrats to Patrick Williams, who was named the Ellery Award winner for his great coverage of all things at the AHL level. Well deserved, Pat!
*A really moving, heartbreaking and also life-affirming tribute from Bobby Ryan to his recently-passed mother after his childhood experience really forged a bond.
*The Tyson Barrie/Colorado Avalanche arbitration case has a chance to get messy, and that may be a very good thing for teams hoping a D-man suddenly becomes available.
*Some great stories about the hockey movies made over the last 30 years including Sudden Death, Mystery Alaska and Slap Shot.
*Kudos to Gabriel Landeskog, who has joined an organization attempting to advise athletes on recovery from concussions after his scary experiences.
*The focus of P.K. Subban’s philanthropy is on the kids, a thing made abundantly clear by his generous pledge to raise $10 million from a Montreal children’s hospital.
*Good piece by FOH (Friend of Haggs) Josh Cooper over at Yahoo! Sports on Murray Craven as a bit of an “Everything Man” for the new Las Vegas expansion franchise.
*For something completely different: what a great American and Patriot looks like, even if the Republicans and Trump don’t seem to think so.
Here are the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while using “malarkey” in my day-to-day vocabulary as much as possible.
-- Dale Tallon was promoted with the Florida Panthers to accentuate his strengths as a talent evaluator, but maintains that he still has final say on hockey decisions.
-- PHT writer Cam Tucker has another young D-man off the board with the Wild’s Matthew Dumba signing a two year, $5.1 million deal with Minnesota.
-- In the interest of self-promotion, here’s my take on the negotiations between Brad Marchand and the Bruins: There’s a couple of good signs at the outset of negotiations.
-- The Arizona Coyotes are stressing the defensive side of things in a big, big way, and it appears to be part of John Chayka’s master plan.
-- Alex Pietrangelo would be a natural selection to replace David Backes as the next captain of the St. Louis Blues.
-- A moving letter from Sens forward Bobby Ryan to his recently passed mother is up at the Players Tribune website.
-- Chris Kreider has re-signed with the New York Rangers, and plans to get out of his head and onto the score sheet more often.
-- For something completely different: Jerod Mayo will bring a new voice to Tom E. Curran’s Quick Slants program on our very own CSN network.