Shea Weber escapes suspension for boarding Jannik Hansen

The Nashville Predators can exhale now, as defenseman Shea Weber has escaped supplemental discipline for his hit on Jannik Hansen. From the NHL:

Nashville Predators defenseman Shea Weber has been fined $2,500, the maximum allowed under the Collective Bargaining Agreement, for boarding Vancouver Canucks forward Jannik Hansen in NHL Game #89 Thursday night Vancouver, the National Hockey League's Department of Player Safety announced today.

The incident, which occurred 5:12 into the third period, was reviewed by the NHL's Department of Player Safety. The fine was levied for violation of Rule 41.1 — Boarding, of the National Hockey League's Official Rules. A minor penalty for boarding was assessed on the play.

And, as usual, the fine is placed on free parking and the first player to land there gets to keep it. (Yes, I know that's not in the official rules, Monopoly geeks.)

This is an interesting call for Shahanan. While it's impossible to truly know what was going on in Weber's head just before driving Jannik Hansen into the boards, those that watched the game -- heck, those that have watched Weber throughout this week -- can attest to the fact that he doesn't seem to be in the best of moods lately.

Jordan Eberle, whom he boarded during the Predators' 3-1 loss to the Oilers on Monday, would likely agree with that assessment.

While he didn't come out and say that Weber looks a little grumpy these days, Shanahan did acknowledge that Weber used excessive force this time around.

''I didn't like this hit and I expressed that to Shea Weber. I feel it was an illegal hit,'' said Brendan Shanahan, the NHL's senior vice president of player safety. ''I would like to see less force in that situation and that is why he's being fined.''

Okay. So why wasn't he suspended?

Shanahan again:

"If you see my highest suspensions, it is when there are multiple offences," Shanahan said. "Weber has played a long time in the NHL and played a very physical style and had no offences. Also, there was no injury on the play."

Simply put, Shea Weber isn't a repeat offender, and his spotless record prior to this incident earned him a reprieve.

That's fine, I guess. I'm all for showing leniency to first-timers, although I hate the idea that their first-timer-ness will allow them to be first-timers again next time. Weber still doesn't have a suspension on his record.

Thankfully, Shanahan addressed that too:

"It is a situation where he can't make that hit that way again," Shanahan said of Weber. "He's now in a situation similar to (Kris) Letang where he has a fine on his record."

In other words, if Weber were to make the same hit again, he'd see a similar fate to Kris Letang.

If there's any consolation for those that think the penalty was too light, it's that Shea Weber just lost his "get out of jail free" card. Next time, Shea Weber, the Shanabell tolls for thee.

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