The trial of Jannik Hansen is over, and the Department of Player Safety has found him guilty, more or less. For his forearm to the back of Marian Hossa's head Tuesday night in Chicago, the Vancouver Canucks' winger has been suspended one game.
Here's Brendan Shanahan to break down the decision:
With the suspension, Hansen forfeits $7,297.30 to the Players' Emergency Assistance Fund.
Simply going by the Department of Player Safety's findings, this suspension isn't going to please either fanbase.
I went on record earlier today as saying that I could understand a one-game suspension to Hansen. In my opinion, Hansen was reaching for the mid-air puck and the shot to the back of Hossa's head was inadvertent. (I still think that happened. I'd argue that slowing it down like this makes it look a lot worse and more deliberate than it is, much like the Matt Cooke/Erik Karlsson hit.) Still, Hansen lacked awareness of Hossa backing into him, and there was enough recklessness there to warrant a one-game suspension, especially with Hossa's apparent injury.
But the DOPS saw things differently. Their findings indicate that they saw malice -- Hansen was initially reaching for the puck, then he changed his position, closed his fist, and drove through the back of Hossa's head.
Here's the issue: if that's what they saw, how in the world is this only one game? That's absurd. If it's their contention that Hansen deliberately put Hossa on the ground and out of the game with this hit, Blackhawks fans have every right to be furious with this decision, because the discipline is far too lenient. Sure, it's mitigated somewhat because he doesn't have a prior history, but even so: one game for what the DOPS believed happened here? On an injurious headshot?
It gives the impression that Shanahan and co. aren't entirely confident in their findings. If they're convinced that Hansen did with deliberately, it deserves more than one game. The lack of conviction suggests uncertainty.
Neither fanbase will be happy about this. That in mind, congratulations to the DOPS for delivering a decision that Chicago and Vancouver fans will agree on. I didn't think it was possible.
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