James Wisniewski must be the most angry player in the NHL when it comes to supplementary discipline. His pre-season hit certainly deserved a suspension but 4 games and then 8 in the regular season? His lost salary was over half a million dollars. That's between 700 and 800 thousand dollars before taxes.
Now he watches as Brian Gionta decks James Reimer and gets nothing. He watches as Wolski KO's Alfredsson. He must be apoplectic when Lucic freight trains Ryan Miller and gets nothing.
It appears one of the problems might be Brendan Shanahan's naivete. He says Lucic told him he didn't intend to hit Miller that way. Shanahan must be under the impression a player would not lie to avoid a suspension. Just because he never did doesn't mean others wouldn't. He believes 50% of hockey people think its suspend able and 50% don't. I haven't found any who don't believe its suspend able and at the latest meeting of the NHL's managers, the majority thought there should have been a suspension in an informal straw pole.
One of the problems might also be Shanahan's think tank. We were all told this was a separate body, with separate people, in a separate office in a separate city. They would not be connected to the group at hockey operations which had in the past doled out suspensions. This is the group headed by Colin Campbell and while a very deep set of hockey thinkers, a group which no longer had the backing of anyone to continue controlling supplemental discipline. The players, managers and owners all wanted this group to be uninvolved in this process going forward. So who did Shanahan consult about the Alfredsson hit? Colin Campbell and his group and their thoughts helped mould his non-suspension call.
What players, fans and mangers are all afraid of is a lack of true change. If we go back to an environment where nobody has any confidence in the consistency of supplementary discipline or the people who decide on it, we have not moved forward.
Brendan Shanahan in his first season in the job has taken many steps forward but also too many massive steps backward.
James Wisniewski deserves a substantial tax refund, and Lucic, Gionta and Wolski have not paid anywhere close to their fair share.
See you at the rink.