I’m going to comment on the Duncan Keith suspension even though I’m probably going to hear about how, as a Canuck fan, I cannot be expected to have an unbiased opinion. In a sense, this is unfair because nothing Brendan Shanahan did was going to affect the Vancouver Canucks.
In another sense, I plead guilty. I’ve become a great admirer of the Sedins over the years, after being lukewarm about their skillset for their first few seasons. (I did not believe anybody could manage the puck into the net often enough to become a great scorer. I thought you had to be able to skate or shoot. Shows you what I know.) The Sedins have become great players and they are great people.
Furthermore, they are very tough players. They go hard to the net and they take tremendous punishment. They don’t embellish anything. They are victims of a media myth in that respect. (In fact, one of the worst parts of this story is that the officials apparently buy into this myth. Is there any other possible explanation for calling that hit a two minute minor?)
They deserve the same respect as every other honest player in the league, and then the big dollop more that is accorded to every star. If you have not enjoyed many, many of the goals they have manufactured, you are not a hockey fan. If you can’t admire guys who celebrated signing their last contract by giving $750,000 each to a hospice for kids, you aren’t a human being.
When I hear Don Cherry – or anyone else – tell me that Daniel Sedin was partly to blame for his injury, my blood boils. (It also boils when he tells me that he loves Brad Marchand. Nobody should like the way Marchand plays a dangerous game.) Everybody – including Cherry – should love what the Sedins have brought to the NHL.
I don’t expect to ever hear Cherry say a kind word about them and I sure don’t expect Sedin slagging to stop polluting every Canuck thread on the internet. I’m just saying emphatically that the Sedins don’t deserve this shit, and I’m really, really tired of it.
Whew. On to Shanahan.
This was a terrible decision, easily Shanahan’s worst. This was the most egregious foul of the season. Why? It was not a hockey play. Aaron Rome’s hit was a hockey play. When Shane Doan gets beat and instinctively throws out an arm or a leg, it is a hockey play. When Duncan Keith drills Daniel Sedin with an elbow in retaliation for a hit several shifts earlier, it is an assault. There really isn’t any difference between Bertuzzi’s assault on Steve Moore and Keith’s assault on Daniel Sedin. The intent – revenge – was the same.
If it was a hockey play that went awry, five games is a reasonable response. It wasn’t a hockey play. Are we to believe that Shanahan really thought Keith lost track of the puck and was just trying to finish his check? He should have made that clear in his video. Not only does he not do that, he pretends Keith does not have a history.
Five games isn’t even in the ballpark.
Postscript: I want to make clear that I do not believe Shanahan was influenced by the fact that a Sedin was the victim. I do think he was influenced by the fact that Duncan Keith is also a star.