Despite taking their sweet time and backing the announcement right up to Canucks’ game time, the department of player safety has finally issued a verdict regarding Brad Marchand’s low bridge on Sami Salo from Saturday’s match between the Canucks and Bruins. Canuck fans will probably like how it all shook out: the Bruins’ pest has been suspended a whopping five games for the hit, the maximum amount he could be given without flying to New York for an in-person hearing.
Why so many games? As usual with Shanahan, Marchand’s repeat offender status plays into the decision, as does the fact that Salo suffered a concussion on the play. But those are secondary factors. The primary one, simply put, is that Brendan Shanahan and company saw the incident as “predatory”.
But don’t take my word for it. Brendan Shanahan’s got the goods:
In case you don’t feel like watching the video and getting that tingly feeling when sweet, sweet justice is served like a slice of McCain Deep and Delicious Cake, here’s the quote that explains why this hit is worthy of such a heavy swing from the banhammer:
“While we understand that, in certain circumstances, a player may duck or bail instinctively in order to protect himself from an imminent, dangerous check, we do not view this play as defensive or instinctive. Rather, we feel this was a predatory, low hit delivered intentionally by Marchand in order to flip his opponent over him,. Further, Salo is not coming at Marchand with great speed nor in a threatening posture. He does nothing to indicate that Marchand is about to be hit illegally or with excessive force.”
In other words, all that stuff about Marchand just protecting himself? Horse twaddle.
Peter Chiarelli fell back on that argument in his statement following the suspension, saying:
“While we understand that the Department of Safety is an evolving entity, it is frustrating that there are clear comparable situations that have not been penalized or sanctioned in the past.
“It is equally disappointing that Brad sought the counsel of the Department this past Fall for an explanation and clarification regarding this type of scenario so as to adjust his game if necessary. He was advised that such an incident was not sanctionable if he was protecting his own safety. Given our feeling that Brad was indeed protecting himself and certainly did not clip the player as he contacted the player nowhere near the knee or quadricep, today’s ruling is not consistent with what the Department of Player Safety communicated to Brad.”
But had he watched the video, he’d have seen its most engaging segment, when Shanahan refutes the “self-defence” theory the same way we did yesterday (think he saw it?), revisiting the contact between Salo and Marchand that starts 16 seconds prior to the low bridge. According to Shanahan, Marchand “shows clear frustration after the hit”, punching Salo in the back of the head. “While this may have led Marchand to believe that Salo might later seek retribution,” he says, “That’s no defense for clipping a player.”
In short, Shanahan finds the only reason that Marchand might fear Salo taking a run and instead turns it into proof of his intent to injure. Brilliantly executed.
By the way, this video also serves as a healthy rebuttal to every Bruins fan digging up other hits from the Stanley Cup Final and claiming they’re the same. Unlike Keith Ballard hitting Jamie McGinn or Mason Raymond ducking Marchand, this is “not an instinctive, evasive, or defensive maneuver”. And, unlike Dan Hamhuis’s hipcheck on Milan Lucic, this is clipping.
He doesn’t always, but I’m of the mind that Shanahan got this one right.Tags: Bruins, marchand, Salo, Shanahan