For those not following on Twitter, I disagree with Brendan Shanahan's rulings today. Carl Hagelin was suspended for three games for his "elbow" on Daniel Alfredsson and Matt Carkner was suspended for one due to his assault on Brian Boyle.
Shanahan's reasoning was that Hagelin “finishes his check with his arms high, recklessly hitting Alfredsson high with his elbow.” Alright, an elbow high is bad.
Shanahan's reasoning was that Carkner "delivers two punches to Boyle's head, the second of which knocks Boyle to the ice. With Boyle down Carkner continues to throw punches, connecting at least five more times with a player who has chosen not to engage in this altercation." Punching a guy in the head is ok, but continuing to punch a turtle is bad.
These rulings display the utter hypocrisy of the NHL today: one unintentional high hit in the flow of play is three times more egregious than two direct punches to the head and five more to undefined locations upon a prone player's body.
Now add to the equation the $2,500 fine Shea Weber received for grabbing Henrik Zetterberg by the helmet and slamming the Swede's head into the glass. Zetterberg and Boyle were fine, Alfredsson did not return to the game. It is clear that Shanahan bases these punishments not on how egregious the action, but by the fallout of said action.
Shanahan's process is flawed and unfair.
Punishing Hagelin based on the fact that Alfredsson was hurt does not take into account the fact that the 39 year old has a long history of injuries. Alfredsson has not played a full season since his rookie year due to a litany of bumps, bruises and breaks. The laundry list of ouchies includes knocks to his hip, ankle, back, knee, head, jaw and "upper body" so it is of little surprise that a little bit of contact took him out yet again. Wolski gave him his first recorded concussion earlier this season and doctors (and Lindroses) have shown that it is easier to get another concussion once a player has already had one - if Alfredsson does indeed have another, which has yet to be diagnosed. Ryan Callahan took an elbow to the head from Chris Phillips in Game 2 but he didn't collapse like a house of cards so the play wasn't even reviewed.
Hagelin is classy and was, of course, apologetic for hitting his childhood hero. If anything, the way Hagelin handled himself will endear him even more into the hearts of Ranger fans. But he did make things worse by apologizing in his meeting with Shanny - as most kids learn, by saying "sorry" you are admitting that you've done something wrong. Hags may think he did something wrong but personally, I don't think he did. He finished a check and, if Alfredsson wasn't the NHL equivalent of Elijah Price, he would have skated off with a two minute minor, at most.
As for Carkner, he received most of the punishment he deserved in the game. The refs gave him the appropriate 2, 5 and 10 and all that should be left is a beating at the hands of a Ranger. It is not his fault that Boyle bitched out. And to suspend Carkner for a game that he likely would have been benched for makes the ruling even more silly - as an Sens fan explained to me, MacLean has alternated Carkner with Gilroy in recent weeks so it was more than likely that Carkner would have been out anyway.
So the Rangers lose an energetic, capable and clean (24 PIM in 64 games) kid for the next three games while Ottawa goes about business as usual in Game 3 without Carkner. By no means has justice been served, in any form. But what it is is what it is, and the series continues tonight. Let's hope that the Rangers can recover from the loss of Game 2 and the loss of Carl Hagelin - it is all that they can do.