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 England 2/1/15 5:30 PM
Seattle
Milwaukee 54 2nd Qtr 2:08
Orlando 38
New York 45 2nd Qtr 1:21
Indiana 48
Denver 2 1st Qtr 10:19
Memphis 4
Chicago 9:30 PM
LA Lakers
Montreal 0 2nd Prd
NY Rangers 0
Winnipeg 2 2nd Prd
Philadelphia 2
Boston 2 2nd Prd 19:57
NY Islanders 0
Arizona 0 1st Prd 5:18
Toronto 0
Dallas 3 1st Prd 8:02
Ottawa 0
Detroit 1 1st Prd 5:29
Tampa Bay 1
Columbus 0 1st Prd 3:50
Florida 0
Nashville 7:00 PM
St. Louis
Minnesota 8:00 PM
Calgary
Buffalo 8:30 PM
Edmonton
Anaheim 9:00 PM
San Jose
DePaul 72 FINAL
Providence 83
Michigan State 71 FINAL
Rutgers 51
Boston Univ 37 2nd Half
Army 32
Fla Atlantic 25 2nd Half
Charlotte 41
Youngstown St 22 2nd Half
Detroit 34
East Tenn St 24 2nd Half 20:00
Furman 29
Saint Louis 24 2nd Half
George Mason 29
USC Upstate 44 2nd Half
Jacksonville 34
High Point 33 2nd Half
Liberty 26
Central Conn St 31 2nd Half 15:17
Long Island 44
Western Ky 23 2nd Half 19:30
Louisiana Tech 31
Dayton 42 2nd Half 17:02
Massachusetts 42
Chattanooga 26 2nd Half 18:50
Mercer 38
Wofford 30 2nd Half
UNC Greensboro 22
Maryland 26 2nd Half
Ohio State 34
FIU 26 2nd Half
Old Dominion 34
Fair-Dickinson 28 2nd Half 20:00
Robert Morris 41
Mount St Marys 27 2nd Half 20:00
St Francis-NY 26
Bryant 37 2nd Half 17:47
St Francis-PA 42
Northern Ky 27 2nd Half
Stetson 37
Coll of Charleston 19 2nd Half
Towson 33
Western Carolina 40 2nd Half
Va Military 36
Sacred Heart 33 2nd Half
Wagner 30
Lipscomb 25 2nd Half 20:00
Fla Gulf Coast 37
Kennesaw St 23 2nd Half 20:00
North Florida 48
Appalachian St 12 1st Half 6:17
Ga Southern 24
Holy Cross 11 1st Half 6:30
Loyola-Maryland 15
Eastern Ill 19 1st Half 6:33
UT Martin 28
Jacksonville St 7:00 PM
Belmont
Connecticut 0 1st Half 18:13
Cincinnati 6
Rider 7:00 PM
Saint Peters
SIU Edwardsville 3 1st Half 18:17
SE Missouri St 1
Marshall 7:00 PM
Southern Miss
Tenn Tech 0 1st Half 20:00
Tennessee St 0
Middle Tennessee 7:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Ill-Chicago 7:00 PM
Milwaukee
Weber State 7:00 PM
North Dakota
Denver 7:00 PM
North Dakota St
IUPU-Ft Wayne 7:00 PM
South Dakota
Louisiana 7:05 PM
South Alabama
Georgia State 7:15 PM
Texas-Arlington
Ark-Little Rock 7:30 PM
Arkansas State
ULM 7:30 PM
Troy
Portland 8:00 PM
Gonzaga
Kentucky 8:00 PM
Missouri
Eastern Ky 8:00 PM
Murray State
UAB 8:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Idaho State 8:00 PM
Northern Colorado
UMKC 8:00 PM
Grand Canyon
Chicago State 8:05 PM
Utah Valley U
Colorado 8:30 PM
USC
Cal Poly 9:00 PM
UC Irvine
Hawaii 9:00 PM
CS-Northridge
Pepperdine 9:00 PM
Pacific
Santa Clara 9:00 PM
San Diego
Utah 9:00 PM
UCLA
UC Santa Barbara 9:00 PM
UC Davis
Montana 9:05 PM
Portland State
Montana State 9:05 PM
Sacramento St
Long Beach State 9:30 PM
Cal State Fullerton
Loyola Marymount 9:30 PM
St Marys-CA
San Francisco 10:00 PM
BYU
California 10:00 PM
Washington St
Louisiana 47 FINAL
South Alabama 57
Saint Josephs 51 FINAL
Saint Louis 52
Appalachian St 77 FINAL
Georgia Southern 74
Niagara 58 FINAL
Saint Peters 65
Old Dominion 80 FINAL
FIU 67
Southern Miss 65 FINAL
Marshall 67
Georgia State 45 FINAL
TX-Arlington 57
Ark-Little Rock 69 FINAL
Arkansas State 70
ULM 39 2nd Half 3:51
Troy 83
Pittsburgh 37 2nd Half 5:25
(17) Duke 58
(6) Tennessee 25 2nd Half
(10) Kentucky 31
(24) Oklahoma 35 2nd Half 18:54
(14) Texas 32
Nebraska Omaha 30 2nd Half 17:48
IUPU-Ft Wayne 39
UC-Riverside 35 2nd Half
CS-Northridge 32
Army 40 2nd Half 18:26
Boston U 17
New Orleans 20 2nd Half
Nicholls 28
Charlotte 30 2nd Half
Florida Atlantic 37
Towson 27 2nd Half 15:15
Delaware 40
Hofstra 35 2nd Half
Northeastern 25
New Hampshire 24 2nd Half
Maine 40
Albany 39 2nd Half 20:00
Vermont 22
Hartford 31 2nd Half
Stony Brook 33
UNC-Wilmington 33 2nd Half 15:58
William & Mary 43
Clemson 28 2nd Half
Wake Forest 34
Alabama 21 2nd Half
(1) South Carolina 38
(23) Syracuse 30 2nd Half 18:23
(8) Louisville 34
Missouri 30 2nd Half
Florida 29
Iona 38 2nd Half 16:54
Fairfield 41
Manhattan 15 2nd Half 18:32
Marist 39
NC State 39 2nd Half 16:44
Virginia 41
(4) Notre Dame 43 2nd Half
Virginia Tech 17
(22) Rutgers 26 2nd Half 20:00
Purdue 22
(5) Maryland 48 2nd Half
Michigan 36
Milwaukee 26 2nd Half 20:00
Cleveland State 33
Wright State 52 2nd Half 20:00
Oakland 41
Jacksonville 25 2nd Half
USC Upstate 28
North Florida 20 2nd Half
Kennesaw St 16
Stetson 19 2nd Half
Northern Ky 37
Loyola-Maryland 28 2nd Half 15:23
Holy Cross 26
Lamar 24 1st Half 8:32
Sam Houston St 19
Fla Gulf Coast 20 1st Half 6:06
Lipscomb 10
Vanderbilt 7:00 PM
(18) Miss State
IUPUI 7:00 PM
Western Ill
Abilene Christian 7:00 PM
Houston Baptist
Incarnate Word 7:00 PM
TX A&M-CC
McNeese State 7:00 PM
SE Louisiana
Oral Roberts 7:00 PM
South Dakota St
Louisiana Tech 7:00 PM
Western Ky
TX-San Antonio 7:00 PM
Middle Tennessee
Auburn 7:00 PM
Arkansas
Grand Canyon 7:00 PM
UMKC
Illinois 7:00 PM
(15) Nebraska
(20) Iowa 7:00 PM
Northwestern
Texas-El Paso 0 1st Half 20:00
UAB 0
Utah Valley U 7:05 PM
Chicago State
Green Bay 0 1st Half 20:00
Valparaiso 0
Ole Miss 8:00 PM
LSU
Portland State 8:00 PM
Montana
Sacramento St 8:00 PM
Montana State
North Dakota 8:00 PM
Weber State
Ohio State 8:00 PM
Wisconsin
Northern Colorado 8:00 PM
Idaho State
BYU 9:00 PM
San Francisco
St Marys-CA 9:00 PM
Loyola Marymount
Pacific 9:00 PM
Pepperdine
Cal-Irvine 9:00 PM
UC Santa Barbara
San Diego 9:00 PM
Santa Clara
UC Davis 9:00 PM
Cal Poly
Long Beach St 10:59 PM
Hawaii
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: Which of these teams is the most frustrating to watch right now?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close