The NHL sent a strong and clear message with the five-game suspension handed to Colorado forward Cody McLeod this afternoon: hits from behind won't be tolerated.
Blindside head shots though? Eh, not so bad . . . at least, if you're a first-time offender.
Grabner was collared for an elbow to the head of Carolina's Nathan Gerbe on Saturday night that, honestly, was probably the easiest call Brendan Shanahan's had to make all year. Gerbe was steaming toward the New York net when Grabner left his man skated about five strides -- past another Islander defender! -- and blasted him in the head, sending Gerbe pinwheeling to the ice.
"This is not a full body check," Shanahan said, choosing not to belabor the obvious. "The head is the main point of contact. And such contact is avoidable."
Short and sweet, reflective of how clear cut this incident was. Unfortunately, though, the punishment was another one of those wag-of-the-finger two gamers that no doubt weighed the lack of serious injury and Grabner's previously clean record over, you know, the fact that he nearly knocked Gerbe into next Tuesday with a really cheap shot to the head.