Around 10:45pm on Tuesday night, the NHL's Disciplinarian, Brendan Shanahan, finally catered to an awaiting crowd on the decisions he's made regarding Pittsburgh Penguin forwards Arron Asham and James Neal.
Both skaters had their hearings scheduled earlier Tuesday afternoon for their incidents in Sunday's game against our beloved Orange & Black.
The final decision on Asham is a 4-game suspension. If the Flyers were to eliminate the Penguins in the next 3-or-less games of this series, then the difference will carry forward to next regular season.
Here is Shanahan's video explanation on his decision to suspend Arron Asham --
Some believe 4-games is not enough. But honestly, after giving the slow-mo replay a very good look, Schenn was never cross-checked in the throat when for the past two days that's what I believed happened.
Also, in his 13yr tenure in the League, he's never once been fined or suspended. And if you know Arron Asham and his playing style, that's simply mind boggling. So I think we're lucky he got suspended for this many contests.
But James Neal's disciplinary decision(s) is a whole other ball of twine.
If you recall, James was scheduled for two separate hearings with Shanahan; one for his non-called charge on Sean Couturier, and the other for his head-hunting elbow which connected with Giroux's head and left him dazed on the ice.
However, Shanahan decided to address both issues in the same suspension video --
This is what chaps my ass redder than Bill Clinton's lipstick-covered crotch.
When Brendan Shanahan addresses the "first play", he mentions how Couturier lost possession of the puck which turned the play in the opposite direction and towards the Flyers zone.
While this was happening, James Neal had gone from defensive mode to offensive mode to keep pace with the change in possession.
During Neal's transformation, Shanahan is sold on the notion that James and Sean had simply collided by complete accident, and Neal's propulsion was an averting mechanism.
If you pause the video at the 00:39 mark, you'll see that James Neal's head is up, he's facing Sean Couturier, and at THAT moment....Couturier became James Neal's target to eliminate. Once Coots lost possession of the puck, that is when Neal took two strides to gain speed, swing his momentum around and leap at Sean's upper-body / head region.
But no suspension. Not even a fine.
Alright, what about his slug on Claude Giroux?
Now this is where Shanahan completely contradicts himself, AND the League's Rulebook.
He mentions how -- on the same shift, separated by only 42-seconds -- James Neal charges at Giroux while Claude was making a play in Pittsburgh's zone. Neal jumps into Giroux, elbow first, and contacts the back of Claude's head.
"This is unacceptable," Brendan states.
Shanahan then defines the Charging rule as it is stated in the NHL's Rulebook:
42.1 Charging - A minor or major penalty shall be imposed on a player who skates or jumps into, or charges an opponent in any manner.
Funny, because earlier in his shift, James skated and jumped into Couturier. An incident that would qualify itself as any manner according to the League's rules.
Charging's charging no matter how you slice it, but somehow Neal was able to convince Shanahan that the contact on Couturier was unintentional.
Unintentional? Not even a minute later in the game Neal's frustration carried him to the opposite end of the rink where he attacked the Flyers best forward with a swinging elbow, intent to harm Giroux. If you believe otherwise, then you're simple-minded to the point where a deck of cards and a pinwheel in your possession should be considered weapons.
But because Shanahan bought into Neal's defamation on the first play, and the fact neither Couturier or Giroux suffered any injuries after each questionable hit was laid on them, James Neal is only suspended for Wednesday's Game 4 (1-game).
The NHL has taken into account that Giroux (though staggered and dazed at first) suffered no injury from Neal's elbow. But has the League considered Giroux's history with concussions? Surely James Neal is aware that Claude had endured a brain injury earlier this season and missed a small stretch of the regular schedule.
I mean, if Brendan Shanahan insists on using whether or not an injury was suffered on the play in question as an added value to the malefactor's disciplinary sentence, then he absolutely -- in this case -- should consider any past, similar injury(ies) to the victim in said questionable play.
But that means Shanahan would have to introduce a seed of consistency to his lunatic punitive logic.
Injuries suffered on the infraction should be completely eliminated from influencing Shanahan's decision making. Something as wild as James Neal launching himself into another player with the INTENT to injure is the biggest picture here, but because Sean Couturier is built of steel and Zeus' frozen piss.....he shook the hit off, lives to play in Wednesday's game and James Neal basically gets a slap on the wrist.
Once again, Shanahan and his cultivation methods have made a mockery of the very moral fibers that bond this League and its players together in the greatest sport that man has ever had the luxury of associating itself with.
It's laughable. The officiating on the ice and in the NHL's head offices.....it's all just laughable.
Raffi Torres virtually put the same charging hit on Marian Hossa Tuesday night in a Phoenix Coyotes vs Chicago Blackhawks, Game 3.
Hossa had to get carted off the ice on a stretcher and brought to the hospital where I still haven't heard any positive updates. I guess you can call that an injury, no?
So what's the lesson learned? "I can try to separate this guy's head from his body, but only if I don't injure him."
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