Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Lenience on Sens' Cowen is a Major Fail for Shanahan's Player Safety Department

There have been a lot of suspensions and plenty of good work done by Brendan Shanahan and the NHL's Player Safety Department this season, but they dropped the ball on this vicious elbow by Jared Cowen on Detroit Red Wings star Pavel Datsyuk (see the hit above).

The hit, according to Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun, was deemed accidental and not worthy of supplemental discipline by Shanahan and Co. "NHL spokesman John Dellapina said VP of safety Brendan Shanahan had a thorough look at the elbow by Cowen with seven minutes left in the game and deemed that the contact was “accidental” and “inadvertent,” wrote Garrich.

This is where we have to part ways with Shanahan. Whether the hit is accidental or not (and how can you judge intent other than watching as Cowen clearly sticks out his elbow and rams it into Datsyuk's noggin?) it resulted in a major blow to the head of a player who is now out indefinitely. Intent shouldn't matter in this case, because it's a grey area anyway. What should matter is that Cowen viciously elbowed the Wings' star. If he's punished for the play, he and others will eventually learn to be more careful. By not punishing him, the league is saying as long as it is an accident, go crazy with the elbows.

It sends a bad message and it's the wrong call.