By Allan Muir
Sheriff Shanny laid down the law Friday afternoon, suspending Edmonton's Taylor Hall two games for a kneeing incident in last night's game against Minnesota.
Hall was assessed a major penalty and game misconduct for his late-third period hit on Cal Clutterbuck, but NHL discipline czar Brendan Shanahan determined that supplementary discipline was called for.
Shanahan made note that the play happened quickly but added that Hall was in control of himself and the hit, and that Clutterbuck did not act evasively in a way that contributed to the collision.
He also noted Clutterbuck was not in possession of the puck at any time during the sequence, so he had no reason to think that a hit was coming.
Fair enough. I can't argue with the concept that this was a dangerous play, whether it was intentional or not. Hall got lower than he should have and definitely led with the knee.
But I'm not so sure he had time to change his course after the puck skittered away from Clutterbuck as Shanahan suggested. Hall is looking to disrupt a player as he's taking a pass in the neutral zone. It's a bang-bang hockey play gone wrong.
Still, I don't have a problem with the penalty, or with the suspension. But these things aren't handed out in a vacuum. And coming just two days after his previous sentence, I can't see how this draws twice the punishment of Jannik Hansen's cheapshot to the back of Marian Hossa's head. Which one is more reckless? Which one is of greater concern?
To me, it's the Hansen incident.