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SBD/October 6, 2011/NHL Season Preview
Brendan Shanahan Leading NHL's Crackdown Against Illegal Hits
Published October 6, 2011
UPON FURTHER REVIEW: In Denver, Adrian Dater noted Shanahan “introduced some new-school elements to his new job, including a video explanation for every suspension he hands out.” And so far, a majority of NHL players “seem to be in favor of the crackdown on head shots -- but some are worried that things will be taken too far” (DENVER POST, 10/2). The GLOBE & MAIL’s Jeff Blair wrote under the header “Shanahan’s Candour Gives Fighting Debate A New Punch.” Shanahan “might be more comfortable in front of the video camera, giving out a dry, written, pseudo-legal interpretation of the latest suspension he’s handed out, but he also seems able to think on his feet.” But Blair added, “It would seem that a league smart enough to use video to explain its suspensions would also realize it’s time to get in front on fighting” (GLOBE & MAIL, 10/3). In Boston, Kevin Paul Dupont wrote the NHL.com videos with Shanahan “explaining the many suspensions he has handed out of late are appointment web watching” (BOSTON GLOBE, 10/2). SI's Farber writes Shanahan explains each decision with "succinct eloquence" (SI, 10/10 issue).
FIGHT FOR CHANGE: The GLOBE & MAIL’s David Shoalts wrote the goal of Shanahan and the league “is laudable but the process is sure to be uncomfortable” (GLOBE & MAIL, 10/2). In Pittsburgh, Josh Yohe wrote Shanahan’s early work “has received praise from players, and his hands-on approach feels refreshing.” Yet his job "remains daunting, as a faction of players seemingly always will push the envelope with controversial hits" (PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW, 10/2). A GLOBE & MAIL editorial stated, “This should be the season to end headshots in hockey.” But the NHL’s "determination to take headshots out of the game and protect the brains of its players is still in question." The editorial: "If the league is serious about headshots, any deliberate targeting of the head should be ruled by definition an ‘attempt to injure,’ and subject to an automatic five-minute ‘major’ penalty, and expulsion from that game” (GLOBE & MAIL, 10/1).