Saturday, December 10, 2011

When it comes to discipline, do the stars get a pass? In Ottawa, here's exhibit A!

When Brendan Shanahan took over as the NHL's Chief Justice, the pursuit of that justice took on the urgency of a gold rush stampede, it was fast, it was furious and it was ever present.

Since those early days, and perhaps thanks to a few intercessions by league GM's, the administration of Shanahan's gavel has dropped in frequency, taking on the cause of justice as more of a working claim as opposed to the mad dash of the early weeks.

All along, as the NHL's B listers and below were dealt with for their transgressions the call was always out there, as fans wondered what would happen if an A list star committed a foul, would Justice Shanahan wield his scythe as required?

In Ottawa, the fans are of the opinion that the answer is clearly NO...

Ladies and Gentlemen of the Jury, we present Exhibit A.

Justice Shanahan has made some good strides this season in trying to rein in the uglier incidents of the game, the main thrust of his jurisprudence thus far dealing with ongoing issue of head shots, spurred on mainly due to the absence of Sidney Crosby for far too many months.

He has been fairly diligent in making sure that the message against dangerous play is heard and that those committing the fouls are reprimanded.

Still as can be seen in the video above, a stick can probably cause more than a few concerns beyond a hit to the head, ask Chris Neil.

By letting Ovechkin get a pass on his stick work from Ottawa, the message seems to be to paraphrase Orwell,  that all of the players are equal, but some players are more equal than others.

If his discipline regimen is to be accepted unequivocally, Justice Shanhan needs to be fair and not let the star power of the lineups, nor the sidebars with the GM's get in the way of the opportunity to send a message.

One that reinforces that any incident that could cause bodily harm won't be tolerated and will be duly enforced.

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