By Allan Muir
I've heard it said that the best deal is the one from which neither side walks away completely happy. If that's the case, then Brendan Shanahan probably came up with the perfect punishment for Jannik Hansen.
Sheriff Shanny handed the Vancouver forward a one-game suspension today for the elbow he threw to the back of Marian Hossa's head on Tuesday night. He'll miss Thursday's meeting with the Stars in Dallas as a result.
It's an interesting verdict. I was expecting something more severe, maybe in the range of three games. Intentional or not, it was undeniably a head shot delivered against a completely defenseless victim ... pretty much the exact element the league says it's trying to get out of the game.
But I talked to a few people around the league, and most thought there would be no suspension. Former referee Kerry Fraser does a nice job summing up that viewpoint over at TSN.
So this clearly isn't as cut-and-dry as most situations the Department of Player Safety addresses. But after weighing the evidence, the DOPS ultimately decided Hansen was reckless and handed out the suspension, which means he also forfeits $7,297.30 in salary.
Here's my problem: the suspension doesn't seem to match the crime Shanny describes in the video:
"While it might be true that Hansen initially reaches up to play the puck in the air, he changes the position of his arm and delivers a sharp, careless forearm to the back of Hossa's head. This was an illegal forearm to the head, delivered recklessly and forcefully. Hossa suffered an injury on the play, and did not return to the game."
So he's not minimizing it as a hockey play gone wrong. While he avoids the concept of intent, he ascribes malice when he talks about Hansen changing his arm position and cracking Hossa recklessly and carelessly. If that's what he saw, then it seems to me like he let Hansen off lightly, clean record or not.
That's certainly what Chicago fans will be thinking, too. Vancouver's supporters are probably still stymied that the officials even bothered to call roughing in the first place. Neither will be happy with this result. Guess that makes it a fair call.