Sheriff Shanahan willing to suspend superstars

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Sheriff Shanahan willing to suspend superstars

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.

Morning Skate: Larry Robinson parts ways with Sharks

Morning Skate: Larry Robinson parts ways with Sharks


Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while refraining from shoving any world leaders today.

*Larry Robinson and the San Jose Sharks are parting after working together for five seasons, per FOH (Friend of Haggs) Kevin Kurz.

*Speaking of Kurz, he also has a Sharks mailbag on which players are most likely to be traded out of San Jose during the offseason. Somebody has got to go, and you’d think it would be somebody without much tread left on the tires.

*Moving on to other topics, Anaheim Ducks center Ryan Kesler said that losing a Game 6 in the Western Conference Finals to the Nashville Predators was the “toughest” loss of his career. I don’t see how this is possible. You see, Kesler is no slouch at falling short. In fact, he’s a tremendous loser, having dropped a Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final at home in 2011 as a member of the Vancouver Canucks, and also having lost a Gold Medal Game for Team USA at the hands of Sidney Crosby and Canada in 2010 in overtime that was also played in Vancouver. It took a simple Google search to find an actual postgame video of Kesler crying into his hockey glove on the bench in the aftermath of Game 7 vs. the Bruins. So, pardon me if I’m not buying Kesler talking about a conference finals loss as the worst of his career when he was one home win away from being a Stanley Cup champion in Game 7, and proceeded to lose like he’s done many, many times in the most important games of his career. Dude, you’ve been through tougher losses. Trust me on that one.  

*The idea of trading Alex Ovechkin might be gaining some traction with the Capitals fan base, but it doesn’t seem to be based on reality at this point.

*The pride of Melrose, Mass, Conor Sheary, delivered in Game 7 for the Penguins as they return to the Stanley Cup Final in back-to-back seasons.

*Bobby Ryan said his strategy for success in the playoffs, at least in part, was staying off the phone. Maybe he ought to try that a bit more during the regular season.

*Congrats to the folks at NBC for another successful Red Nose Day that featured a reunion of the “Love Actually” cast among other things.