By Allan Muir
It probably wasn't the worst head shot we've seen all season, but Alex Edler's cheapie on Tomas Hertl on Thursday night earned the noted recidivist a three-game suspension all the same.
The incident occurred in the second period of Vancouver’s 4-1 loss to San Jose. Hertl was pursuing the puck near the Canucks' bench when Edler blasted him, spinning Hertl around and sending his helmet flying into the air.
There was no penalty called on the play, but that didn't spare Edler from Shanny's wrath.
"Edler does not hit Hertl squarely," Shanahan said. "He cuts across the front of Hertl, making the head the main point of contact.
"Although Hertl is leaning forward, the position of his head does not materially change immediately prior to, or simultaneous with the hit that significantly contributes to this head contact. Aside from his helmet popping up into the air, Hertl’s reaction to this hit — getting spun rather than getting driven into the direction Edler was traveling — reaffirms our view that his head is the main point of contact."
The three games seem about right here. There have been four suspensions for illegal hits to the head this season and all have earned the miscreant three or more games, so at least there's some consistency in the punishment. There have been cheaper shots, but Edler was suspended for charging Phoenix goalie Mike Smith last March, so his repeat offender status certainly weighed into Shanahan's decision.
If the time off doesn't get his attention this time, maybe the light paycheck will. Edler will cough up $182,926.83 in salary, which goes to the NHLPA's Emergency Assistance Fund.