Michael Russo's Sunday Insider: Disciplinarian Shanahan defends decisions

  • Article by: Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 31, 2011 - 6:54 PM

Conspiracy talk notwithstanding, NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan insists, laughing, he's no Wild hater.

hide

Wild defenseman Jared Spurgeon was helped off the ice Monday, but he got no relief from the NHL office.

Photo: Ann Heisenfelt, Associated Press - AP

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

The second it became apparent that Colorado's Cody McLeod would escape punishment for checking the Wild's Jared Spurgeon from behind on Monday, I got pelted with e-mails and tweets.

"Brendan Shanahan's a joke." "A Wild player's got to lose a limb for the league to notice." "Why does Shanahan hate Minnesota?"

Wednesday morning, I e-mailed NHL headquarters and basically demanded an explanation for how it's possible that for the fourth time since Nov. 30, a Wild opponent has skated away spank-free for a questionable incident toward a Wild player.

Obviously Shanahan, the longtime power forward who has taken over NHL discipline from oft-criticized Colin Campbell, loathes Minnesota, right? He annoyed by our funny accents? Chow down some bad chicken wild rice soup last time he was here?

I landed in Nashville and had an e-mail to call Shanahan.

"Believe it or not, there's not some conspiracy in New York or within me against the state of Minnesota or Minnesota Wild," Shanahan said. "Earlier this month, I was at the same hotel as the Wild in San Jose and I sat around and had a few beers and told some stories and had some laughs with Matt Cullen and Devin Setoguchi and Dany Heatley."

Shanahan began to laugh.

"I remember when I played for the Rangers. We were playing the Devils. It was probably my 20th year of hockey and for years, you always heard the Devils get all the calls because the refs are so intimidated by [General Manager Lou Lamoriello]."

Shanahan said he yelled at referee Don VanMassenhoven that he shouldn't give any breaks to New Jersey "just because it's Lou and the Devils." The next season, Shanahan played for the Devils, and his new teammates claimed the Rangers got all the breaks. After a penalty in one game, Shanahan jokingly told, coincidentally, the same ref not to favor the Rangers.

"Everyone loves conspiracy theories," Shanahan said. "I deal with passionate GMs and players every day. I can't pay much attention to fanatics. I just do the job."

On Nov. 30, Edmonton's Ryan Whitney injured Cal Clutterbuck with a knee. On Dec. 13, Pierre-Marc Bouchard broke his nose after being boarded by Winnipeg's Zach Bogosian. On Dec. 22, Marek Zidlicky was checked from behind by Edmonton's Lennart Petrell. Then, Monday, Spurgeon was injured.

Shanahan went through each incident with me and explained his reasoning for not rendering discipline (see www.startribune.com/russo). He also called Wild GM Chuck Fletcher on Tuesday.

Shanahan painted me a picture of how supplemental discipline works. On a daily basis, he'll e-mail 14 people clips of questionable hits with the subject, "Thoughts?" That group includes such people as Rob Blake, Kris King, Stephane Quintal, Kay Whitmore and Mike Murphy.

"In a job that is very subjective, I think our group is the best at it," Shanahan said. "We have a mental catalog of hundreds and hundreds of hits and we see patterns that to us prove intent and lack of intent.

"It's an important job. I could really care less about pats on the back. What I care about is over time trying to develop something that makes it safer for players to play while at the same time making sure players are still able to body check."

On any decision to suspend or not suspend, somebody (or many somebodys) will be upset. But transparency is the key to this thankless job.

"Sometimes people want to say we're not clear or confusing, but they never pick up the phone to ask us," Shanahan said. "Whether you agree or disagree, in the end, we expose all of our work."

I talked to Shanahan for 20 minutes. I still don't like the ruling -- McLeod could have ridden Spurgeon into the boards rather than drive a vulnerable player with a check across the numbers.

But I also know Shanahan doesn't hate Minnesota.

  • related content

  • Michael Russo's short takes: Jan. 1

    Saturday December 31, 2011

    Now he starts scoringEric Nystrom, traded from the Wild to Dallas early in the season for future considerations (nothing) so...

  • The Wild's week ahead

    Saturday December 31, 2011

    Wednesday: at Vancouver, 9 p.m. (FSN). Saturday: at Calgary, 9 p.m. (FSN).Player to watch: Jarome Iginla, Calgary The all-time leader...

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

New Orleans 28 FINAL
Carolina 10
Tampa Bay 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland
Arizona 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Dallas
Philadelphia 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Houston
NY Jets 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Jacksonville 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
San Diego 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Washington 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota
St. Louis 11/2/14 3:05 PM
San Francisco
Denver 11/2/14 3:25 PM
New England
Oakland 11/2/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Baltimore 11/2/14 7:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Indianapolis 11/3/14 7:30 PM
NY Giants
Washington 105 FINAL
Orlando 98
Detroit 91 FINAL
Minnesota 97
New York 95 FINAL
Cleveland 90
Utah 102 FINAL
Dallas 120
Oklahoma City 90 FINAL
LA Clippers 93
Boston 3 FINAL(OT)
Buffalo 2
Winnipeg 1 FINAL(SO)
New Jersey 2
Los Angeles 0 FINAL
Pittsburgh 3
Chicago 5 FINAL(SO)
Ottawa 4
Philadelphia 3 FINAL
Tampa Bay 4
Arizona 1 FINAL
Florida 2
San Jose 3 FINAL(SO)
Minnesota 4
Anaheim 0 FINAL
St. Louis 2
NY Islanders 0 FINAL
Colorado 5
Montreal 2 FINAL(OT)
Vancouver 3
(2) Florida State 42 FINAL
Louisville 31
Troy 10 FINAL
Ga Southern 42
Cincinnati 10/31/14 7:00 PM
Tulane
Tulsa 10/31/14 7:02 PM
Memphis
Air Force 11/1/14 10:30 AM
Army
ULM 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Texas A&M
(19) Oklahoma 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
Northwestern 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Iowa
(24) Duke 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Maryland 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
Wisconsin 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers
Rice 11/1/14 11:00 AM
FIU
(21) East Carolina 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Temple
UCF 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Connecticut
Boston College 11/1/14 11:30 AM
Virginia Tech
North Carolina 11/1/14 11:30 AM
Miami-Florida
Washington 11/1/14 12:00 PM
Colorado
Central Mich 11/1/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
Western Mich 11/1/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Western Ky 11/1/14 2:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
NC State 11/1/14 2:00 PM
Syracuse
Virginia 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Georgia Tech
Purdue 11/1/14 2:30 PM
(17) Nebraska
BYU 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Middle Tennessee
(10) TCU 11/1/14 2:30 PM
(20) West Virginia
Indiana 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Florida 11/1/14 2:30 PM
(9) Georgia
Georgia State 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Appalachian St
Kentucky 11/1/14 3:00 PM
Missouri
Kansas 11/1/14 3:00 PM
(12) Baylor
Texas State 11/1/14 3:00 PM
New Mexico St
Houston 11/1/14 3:00 PM
So Florida
USC 11/1/14 3:30 PM
Washington St
Arkansas State 11/1/14 4:00 PM
Idaho
South Alabama 11/1/14 4:00 PM
Louisiana
New Mexico 11/1/14 4:30 PM
UNLV
UAB 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
(4) Auburn 11/1/14 6:00 PM
(7) Ole Miss
Old Dominion 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Vanderbilt
Colorado State 11/1/14 6:00 PM
San Jose St
Arkansas 11/1/14 6:15 PM
(1) Miss State
Stanford 11/1/14 6:30 PM
(5) Oregon
Tennessee 11/1/14 6:30 PM
So Carolina
Texas 11/1/14 6:30 PM
Texas Tech
Southern Miss 11/1/14 7:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
(6) Notre Dame 11/1/14 7:00 PM
Navy
Oklahoma State 11/1/14 7:00 PM
(11) Kansas State
Illinois 11/1/14 7:00 PM
(13) Ohio State
(14) Arizona 11/1/14 9:30 PM
(25) UCLA
California 11/1/14 9:30 PM
Oregon State
San Diego St 11/1/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
Wyoming 11/1/14 9:45 PM
Fresno State
(18) Utah 11/1/14 10:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Utah State 11/1/14 10:00 PM
Hawaii
Bowling Green 11/4/14 7:00 PM
Akron
Toledo 11/4/14 7:00 PM
Kent State
Buffalo 11/5/14 7:00 PM
Ohio U
Northern Ill 11/5/14 7:00 PM
Ball State
(22) Clemson 11/6/14 6:30 PM
Wake Forest
Sporting Kansas City 1 FINAL
Red Bull New York 2
Hamilton 10/31/14 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Winnipeg 11/1/14 3:00 PM
Calgary
Brt Columbia 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Edmonton
Toronto 11/2/14 11:00 AM
Montreal
Ottawa 11/7/14 6:00 PM
Toronto
Calgary 11/7/14 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Montreal 11/8/14 3:00 PM
Hamilton
Edmonton 11/8/14 6:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Who is your favorite Wild player?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close