Jannik Hansen gets one-game ban, which isn’t nearly long enough according to Brendan Shanahan [VIDEO]

The reaction to Jannik Hansen’s hit on Marian Hossa was immediately polarized. Reactions ranged from outrage and demands for 8-15 game suspensions to incredulousness that a penalty was even called on the play. We fell somewhere in the middle: it looked unintentional, but was still careless and resulted in a hit to the head.

Harrison theorized that Hansen would get a one-game suspension due to the recklessness of Hansen’s action and Hossa’s injury history, even though it was essentially an accident.

Brendan Shanahan only half-agreed. Hansen did get suspended one-game, but in the video on the suspension, Shanahan appeared to think the hit was worth far more than that, making his decision completely baffling.

Imagine you heard this description of a hit without seeing it: This was an illegal forearm to the head delivered recklessly and forcefully.

How long a suspension would you expect for such a hit? 5 games, like the Duncan Keith suspension? More?

The video goes point-by-point through the hit, breaking it down in slow motion and freeze-framing several points deemed important. Each of the points he refutes is likely one that was brought up by the Canucks in their phone-hearing with Shanahan, indicating that he doesn’t fully buy their defence that Hansen’s only intention was to play the puck.

The problem is that the length of suspension indicates that he doesn’t fully buy his own description of the hit. He points out that Hansen’s original intention was to play the puck, but that he changes his arm position, closes his fist, and doesn’t extend his arm until after making contact. All of this would suggest that the hit was intentional.

If Shanahan actually thought it was intentional, however, there’s not a chance that he would only give Hansen a one-game suspension. It seems more likely that he saw the hit similar to how we did: unintentional and a bit reckless. There’s no indication in the video itself, however, of why he didn’t throw the book at Hansen beyond saying that it happened in a split second. It’s fine that he went through point-by-point to say why it was a bad hit, but he also needed to say why it wasn’t longer-than-one-game bad.

Honestly, I feel like Shanahan made the right decision in giving Hansen a suspension. Players need to be more careful with their actions at head height and Hansen was far from careful on this play. The description in the video, however, is definitely going to rile up Blackhawks fans who will be incensed that Hansen didn’t get suspended longer.

Shanahan initially started doing these suspension videos to clear up confusion and provide transparency. Ironically, this one manages to do the exact opposite.

Tags: , , ,

36 comments

  1. Beantown Canuck
    February 20, 2013

    The NHL is a joke organization

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +18 (from 24 votes)
  2. Warpstone
    February 20, 2013

    I don’t disagree with the suspension. Head hits need to be policed and if dubious and reckless contact the head is at least 1 game, then good.

    But Shanahan than goes about destroying any sense of this in the video. He picks away at the ruling down to open and closed fist comparisons that are frankly pointless. And his ability to understand intent in those seconds is amazing. If he’s really that good of a mind-reader how come he didn’t rack up more points than Gretzky?

    The arbitrary and frankly gutless stands on discipline are worst when you’re apparently trying to take a stand. If Kesler did it, would a star have gotten a game off too? The video clarification has made the entire ruling more mystifying because we’re all familiar now that a first-time offender with the intent to injure via a headshot merits at least 5 games, right?

    Idiots.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +20 (from 20 votes)
  3. Kyle
    February 20, 2013

    They gave him a game because it was a Hossa and because the Blackhawks lobbied. To justify it, they had to make it out to be more than just a hockey play gone wrong.

    Backwards.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +22 (from 30 votes)
  4. GayCanuck
    February 20, 2013

    That video was strange compared to the suspension. I was preparing to hear “5 games” based on how ominous the explanation of the hit was. I think it’s a bit overplayed, to be honest. Hansen wasn’t moving very fast at all, I see far worse hits that don’t even get a penalty, like the one that concussed Gabe Landeskog.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +20 (from 20 votes)
  5. Geoff-C-
    February 20, 2013

    Oh Shanny/NHL fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice shame on me. Confuse the hell out of me 12,342 times WTF?

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +34 (from 36 votes)
  6. Angry Canadian
    February 20, 2013

    This might sound a bit stupid, but living in Australia and not being completely up-to-date …does the NHL actually have a set policy on shots to the head? I mean, I would have thought, considering that their #1 poster boy missed a good chunk of a season or so thru concussion, that the NHL brass would put something down in writing and say, OK, if someone gets a concussion thru a headshot, whether they’ve had one or not previously, it’s a suspension (length determined by severity, maybe)?

    I know that the Australian Rules Football league has done a fair bit in the past few years to eradicate the potential for concussions, etc – all AFL players pretty much know you’ll miss a week or two if there’s an elbow to the head. I say this, because this was my first thought when I saw the video…Hansens’ play looked to me exactly the same as an AFL play – specifically, spoiling the mark (that is, trying to make someone not catch the ball by getting a fist into the flight path).

    I guess my point is that I find it really hard to believe that there wouldn’t be something set in stone, considering the ruckus over the last few years in the NFL around head knocks. If anyone can educate/enlighten me, I’d appreciate it.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +7 (from 9 votes)
    • best behaviour
      February 20, 2013

      Well, I think it’s part of why the hockey market hasn’t expanded the way the NHL envisioned when they started up the new franchises. People watching most sports are used to consistency in calls made during play and an internally consistent overarching strategy, like you describe with Aussie rules. Hockey has never been like that; new fans love the sport, then go, “hey, wasn’t that a crosscheck right in front of the ref?” Old fans go, “Well, they don’t call *everything*, obviously!” and you go, “oh, right”. I think it can be offputting unless you really grow up with hockey – maybe even if you do.

      But it’s an old-school, blue-collar organization all the way to the top. No, there is no consistent policy, and there isn’t going to be in the foreseeable future: officiating both at the ice level and above is expected to have a wide margin of discretion. That does mean a lot of bias – it’s openly acknowledged that more “important” teams and more high-profile players get more consideration.

      Some say that’s necessary in such a fast-moving sport. That argument worked until about 10 years ago, but I think it now puts off new fans and old to see goals being disallowed while everyone but the refs have watched the replay from three angles showing it was legit, even before the whistle blows for the next puck drop. Still we love it! But the politics are always grisly, and the Canucks are not at all a favoured team- quite the opposite.

      VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
      Rating: +14 (from 14 votes)
      • J21 (@Jyrki21)
        February 21, 2013

        Agreed, and it should be said [before the usual accusations get made] that it’s not a “conspiracy theory” to acknowledge that every person involved with the NHL has a financial stake in the league’s well-being and its ability to maximize profits, and this includes the on-ice officials, but especially the league front office. Like it or not, that does present a conflict of interest when making judgment calls between two markets. From a business perspective, it would be utter lunacy to for the league to treat, say, an Edmonton (small market already maximizing revenue from its fan base) and a Chicago or Boston (large U.S. markets where the game already has a strong foothold, but is far from the #1 sport in town) the same. The incentives say this absolutely should not happen if the league is to make more money. The Blackhawks, Bruins and Kings winning Cups back to back to back is a wet dream for anyone making money off the NHL (I dare say the Flyers are due next), because of all the untapped revenue and interest that releases in large, non-expansion markets.

        Vancouver, while a cash cow, finds itself in the unenviable position of being another of those medium markets where fan support is already maxed out, and the Canucks are easily the #1 game in town. While the league doesn’t want to alienate the fans completely, lest they start spending less, it has the luxury of calling their bluff (will Vancouver fans abandon the sport because the Canucks don’t win the Cup? Not likely).

        So one can say all they want about integrity of the game and all that, but the NHL is a for-profit business, and it would surprise me if these considerations did not make their way to ice level.

        VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
        Rating: +6 (from 6 votes)
    • Dane
      February 20, 2013

      Agreed. It looked to me as though Hansen initially was going for the puck, realised he wasn’t going to get it, so decided to “Spoil the mark”/push Hossa off balance but he got it wrong and got him in the head. The Aussie rules comparison is a pretty good one, for both what Hansen may have been intending, and on the rulings on such a play. The one game suspension seems to be about right to me, and I wouldn’t have complained if it were 2.

      VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
      Rating: +8 (from 8 votes)
  7. Brent
    February 20, 2013

    Once again the league shows what a joke it is.Hossa is a wimp and you could hit him with a wet noodle and get the same effect,I’m really quite happy there is a short season because much more of this stupidity by the league and I think I’ll find better thing to occupy my time

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: -7 (from 25 votes)
  8. Raftgeek
    February 20, 2013

    I don’t think there should have been a hearing period. This is dumb, really dumb. The NHL is finding new and unexpected ways to let me down time and time again. I’m losing interest…..

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +4 (from 12 votes)
  9. Timmy Wong (@timmywong11)
    February 20, 2013

    I can’t wait until the ‘hawks assfans get to this PiTB post and start deriding this team as some spawn of Broad St. Bully v2.0. This, coming from the same fanbase that insists the entire team consists of softies, women, and divers.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +10 (from 14 votes)
    • chicken chick
      February 20, 2013

      “A premeditated dirty hit!”
      “Just like the one some time ago?”
      “Not all your talk can make it so.”
      “You’ll never know the truth of it.”

      We all see what we wish to see,
      Believe the way we hope it was,
      And curse each other just because
      We’re too involved emotionally.

      Duncan Keith on Dan Sedin:
      Deliberate elbow to the head,
      (Or just payback that I misread?)
      Was sordid rotten filthy mean!

      Now Hansen hits a Blackhawk star.
      Some see a nasty accident,
      But others forceful foul intent.
      It’s just the way that these things are.

      VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
      Rating: +4 (from 10 votes)
    • peanutflower
      February 20, 2013

      Just go to Puck Daddy and Kevin’s comments. He’s pretty assfanish.

      VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
      Rating: 0 (from 2 votes)
  10. Chris the Curmudgeon
    February 20, 2013

    I can almost agree with you, but I think “careless” causing a serious accident being suspendable is a very slippery slope. By that rationale, shouldn’t Hossa have gotten a game for nearly ending Bryan Berard’s career with an oversized shot follow through?

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +8 (from 12 votes)
    • Brad
      February 20, 2013

      Very true, or Cooke last week for needlessly lifting and planting into karlson’s Achilles

      VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
      Rating: +8 (from 14 votes)
      • Phileo99
        February 20, 2013

        Well, the problem there is that Shanny Cop operates from their rule book, and the NHL has not deemed slicing one’s Achilles tendon as an illegal play. They don’t have a penalty for such an intent to injure, therefore Cooke walked away scot free.

        VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
        Rating: +1 (from 3 votes)
  11. betty
    February 20, 2013

    What i don’t understand, help me out, IS , WHY is Fighting sanctioned, everyone watches as two players repeatedly punch each other “INTENTIONALLY “in the Head. NO suspension, they each get a penalty. When something like this Hansen /Hossa incident happens, everyone goes nuts, Hansen is the Devil Incarnate. Don’t get me wrong , Fighting is an accepted part of the Game, across the board, no complaints. Aside from personal feelings about Our Canucks being EVIL, as well as Canuck Fans being Pond scum, if cooler HEADS prevailed this would have been seen for what it was , a really lousy accident, nothing more , nothing less. I for one am pretty jaded , not about Hockey,
    or the Players,but the horrible, vicious, outrageous comments on Social Media. What happened to being able to disagree without putting your life in jeopardy?

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +11 (from 15 votes)
    • Warpstone
      February 20, 2013

      Because if hockey was rational, 9/10ths of the outrage that fuels media coverage would not exist. The NHL’s cultural norms bear more in common with the WWF than the IIHF.

      VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
      Rating: +8 (from 8 votes)
  12. Dmac in TO
    February 20, 2013

    I don’t mind the suspension – get the logic, but then wouldn’t apply to Cooke’s play on Karlson last week – out of control, reckless. Oh, I forgot this is about head shots and the NHL is supposed to care about the head …unless a guy gets a concussion from a fight. Given the number of fights, particularly staged fights this year, one has to wonders if and when there will be a class action suit that will get the league to think logically about all of this.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +5 (from 5 votes)
  13. Smokey
    February 20, 2013

    I wish I knew whether this was intentional payback for Keith on Sedin last year…there were definite similarities although obviously Keith’s was much more flagrant.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: -13 (from 15 votes)
    • best behaviour
      February 20, 2013

      What kind of payback is that? Who on earth would have expected Hossa to go down like that after one biff? If you were going for revenge, is that the action you’d take? Jannik Hansen, the least talented goon in the NHL.

      I don’t think it was Hossa’s fault that he was previously concussed, or that he relapsed, naturally, but I don’t see why Hansen should be considered as having “caused” an injury on a play.

      VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
      Rating: +18 (from 22 votes)
      • peanutflower
        February 20, 2013

        lol “the least talented goon in the NHL.” too funny.

        VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
        Rating: +11 (from 13 votes)
        • dougster
          February 21, 2013

          I am willing to bet that Hansen closed his hand because he didn’t want to draw a “obscuring the puck” penalty (or whatever it is called)… the idea that Hansen would set out to intentionally injure anyone is ridiculous. But… carelessness around anyone’s head does have consequences.

          VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
          Rating: +5 (from 5 votes)
          • best behaviour
            February 21, 2013

            It does – but suppose Hossa hadn`t gone down. Would anyone watch the video and go, “wow, thank goodness Hossa wasn`t injured on that play! Look at Hansen- that`s really dangerous!” To me, the only reason it was scrutinized and Hansen classified as “repeat offender” for any future mishap is that Hossa`s preexisting injury acted up again for the remainder of that game, though he was back in the lineup for the next gain. I don`t really see why Hansen should be suspended as though he`d caused an injury.

            Anyone else think this might not have happened to Hansen if it hadn`t been for that crosscheck on the official a few weeks back? Surprised no one has mentioned that – this league is kind of notorious for “make-up calls.”

            VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
            Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
  14. John
    February 20, 2013

    What about the role the video plays in the decision making process – you have to believe Shanahan would’ve liked to get a better look at the hit before making a decision. Maybe Shanahan didn’t feel confident giving out a longer suspension based on such poor camera angles.

    The NHL is a pretty big sports league; I don’t understand why they don’t have cameras everywhere. They would improve the broadcasts, no?

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +5 (from 7 votes)
    • John
      February 20, 2013

      Also, I hate that injuries play a role in determining if a player should be suspended. Players that do stupid things shouldn’t only get suspended when they hurt somebody. And players that inadvertently injure somebody shouldn’t be unfairly (emphasis on unfairly) punished by an unfortunate incident that wouldn’t have drawn a suspension if no injury had occurred.

      VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
      Rating: +12 (from 12 votes)
      • tj
        February 20, 2013

        Anyone know how long Hossa will be out? I guess this sort of thing takes awhile to assess, but I wonder if Shanahan knows something we’ve not been told yet. He seems to be trying to play all positions, and doing so poorly. The nasty in this rivalry just got stoked some more; I’m a bit nervous for the likely retribution that will come from the likes of Bolland.

        VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
        Rating: +6 (from 6 votes)
        • best behaviour
          February 21, 2013

          Hossa is back in the lineup. Apparently now “injured on the play” nowadays means went down, left the game for safety in respect of previous head injury, and then was fine.

          VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
          Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
          • John
            February 21, 2013

            I have no problem with Hossa leaving the game for precautionary reasons but that should have no bearing on whether or not the incident was worth a suspension.

            VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
            Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
  15. immie_8
    February 20, 2013

    So let me see if I get this straight:
    – If you hurt someone but say you didn’t mean to hurt someone and the NHL buys it (e.g. Lucic on Miller), you get nothing;
    - If you hurt someone and say you didn’t mean to hurt someone and the NHL doesn’t buy it (e.g.Marchand on Salo), you get 5 games or more if you have a history;
    -If you hurt someone and say you didn’t mean it and the NHL isn’t sure (e.g. Hansen on Hossa), the NHL will give you a game.

    Now, of course, entirely different rules apply if the player on the receiving end of a reckless/dangerous/dirty play wasn’t hurt. And then there’s the small matter of whether the incident star players vs. the less noteworthy ones, rather than a gridner vs. a grinder or, heaven forbid, star player vs. a star player. Seriously, I wonder what the supplemental discipline book looks like – I’ve got a feeling it’s probably thicker than the tax code manual that I had to lug around during my 4th year at uni.

    I’m starting to think that maybe the NHL could make things easier on themselves by hiring a psychic to ask the questions. That way they could at least be sure of the intent portion of it. Of course, the other option would be to remove trying to figure out intent, along with whether an injury occured and to evenly apply consequences to all players regardless of star status.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +6 (from 6 votes)
  16. Dan
    February 21, 2013

    Yeah the video is really confusing. It makes the event seem terribly horribly terrible, with him saying HE THEN CLOSES HIS FIST AND EXTENDS HIS ARM OUT, then he just says one game? Something is just not right. I hate it when clarifiers make things even murkier, it’s so frustrating.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +2 (from 2 votes)
  17. Steve
    February 21, 2013

    Clearly intentional shot to head, should have been a longer suspension. NHL should make it clear intentional head shots are going to cost big.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: -11 (from 15 votes)
  18. TamaraB
    February 21, 2013

    If it’s only a penalty/suspension/dirty play because it was Hossa who took the hit, and wouldn’t have been had it been any other player, the problem is Hossa, not the play.

    If he’s that delicate that incidental (though some see intentional) contact is enough to knock him out for 5 minutes — the man should not be on the ice, superstar or not. Opposing players should not have to adjust their play style depending on who is on the ice.

    What if Hansen had checked him along the boards, a clean, legitimate hit, Hossa knocked his head and was out cold… Would people be screaming for blood? Probably. But I maintain, if Hossa cannot risk even minor head contact, Hossa should not be playing.

    Hansen was careless, at the least, although to me, that seems to be a big part of any organised sport. If players were concerned about being careful all the time, sport would be a lot less exciting and interesting. Be that as it may, he was “careless” and we all know, they wanted payback for him cross checking the ref… one game seems ok to me, though I still view it as reactionary and silly.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +2 (from 6 votes)
  19. J21 (@Jyrki21)
    February 21, 2013

    “If Shanahan actually thought it was intentional, however, there’s not a chance that he would only give Hansen a one-game suspension.”

    I dunno — Duncan Keith’s elbow was the mother of all intentional attempts to injure, and that only warranted 5 games. By that yardstick, even if intentional, Hansen deserved about a 45-minute suspension. As much as Hawk fans on the Internet want to make moral equivalence (note the first Youtube video that comes up if you search for this incident is described as a “flying elbow”… uh, in what world?), there is very little equivalence to be had between a leaping elbow to the face designed to inflict injury, vs. a bump on a helmeted head that would not cause injury to any not-recently-concussed player.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +7 (from 9 votes)
  20. obituary mambo
    February 21, 2013

    I had no choice but to watch the Chicago feed and to hear their commentators tell it, you’d think Jannik Hansen were the thuggiest thug in all the land. They were even suggesting the team enact some vengeance before the end of game. There was a thirst for blood you don’t often hear from professional commentators. I fear for the health and safety of Jannik Hansen when the teams next meet. It’s especially ridiculous given the fact that, although clumsy/careless, the hit was in no way vicious. I don’t suppose there’s any convincing them of that, though. A 1-game suspension seems appropriate to me.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +6 (from 8 votes)