By Allan Muir
The two-game suspension handed to San Jose winger Ryane Clowe won't make everyone happy, but go ahead and chalk this one up for NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan. It looks like he made another fair call.
Clowe was called on the carpet after engaging Andrew Shaw late in last Friday's game against the Blackhawks. Clowe took exception to a hard hit Shaw laid on San Jose's Joe Pavelski and hopped over the boards to discourage him from taking future liberties.
There was pushing and shoving, but no punches were thrown, earning him a roughing minor. But Clowe also picked up a game misconduct for leaving the bench, resulting in an indefinite suspension from the league pending a hearing.
If Shanahan had judged that Clowe left the bench illegally to fight Shaw, he'd have faced a 10-game suspension. Coach Todd MacLellan also would have been sidelined for a game.
But Shanahan determined that MacLellan had tabbed Clowe as the next change, and Pavelski was coming to the bench after a 68-second shift. Since the line change was deemed legal, the suspension "was based on the severity of Clowe's actions."
Shanahan quoted two sections from the rule book in explaining his decision.
Rule 70.1: No player may leave the players' bench or penalty bench at any time during an altercation or for the purpose of starting an altercation.
Rule 70.2: A player who has entered the game while play is in progress from his own players' bench ... who starts an altercation, may be subject to discipline.