If you want to understand how much responsibility the Brendan Shanahan regime places on the player being hit in a supplemental discipline hearing, look no further than Chris Stewart's three-game suspension for boarding Niklas Kronwall in Tuesday night's St. Louis Blues' win over the Detroit Red Wings.
Before Stewart's guilt was verified, Kronwall's innocence had to be established: That his cutting in front of Stewart wasn't an attempt to "reverse hit" the Blues forward but rather an attempt to shield the puck, which he's obviously allowed to do.
Stewart, on the other hand, isn't allowed to shove a guy in the numbers into the boards, because it's really quite dangerous and generally frowned upon. He was given a five-minute major and a game misconduct, and now he's given a three-game suspension.
Do you agree or disagree with this one?
From the NHL:
St. Louis Blues forward Chris Stewart has been suspended, without pay, for three games for shoving Detroit Red Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall from behind and into the boards during NHL Game No. 252 Tuesday night in St. Louis, the National Hockey League's Department of Player Safety announced today. Under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, and based on his average annual salary, Stewart will forfeit $46,621.62. The money goes to the Players' Emergency Assistance Fund.
The incident occurred at 11:14 of the first period. Stewart will miss games Nov. 17 vs. Florida, Nov. 19 at Minnesota and Nov. 22 vs. Los Angeles. He will be eligible to return Nov. 23 at Pittsburgh.
Again, all we ask for is consistency in these rulings. This season, we've had two similar plays end up on Judge Shanny's desk: Mats Zuccarello of the New York Rangers getting a fine for a shove in the back of Trevor Lewis, and Dan Carcillo of the Chicago Blackhawks getting two games for his shove to the back of Joni Pitkanen:
It's interesting that Stewart, with a clean record and no injury on the play, earned one more game than Carcillo, with prior offenses and no injury on the play. We were figuring two for Stewart but four if Kronwall didn't return to the game; this splits the difference, but it's still more than it may have deserved.
Then again, for those that think these things should deter future acts: Clearly someone wasn't paying attention after Zuccarello and Carcillo got theirs, and now we've seen the punishment escalate again.
No more shoving; ride the guy into the boards. Thus spake Shanahan.