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: Brendan Shanahan, Jannik Hansen, Marian Hossa, videos