Brendan Shanahan strikes again but this time the NHL’s disciplinarian made a mistake in simply handing Nashville Predators defenseman Shea Weber a fine for a hit on Detroit Red Wings forward Henrik Zetterberg.
The hit – which clearly had intent to injure – came late in the third period Wednesday night during Game 1 of their Western Conference Quarterfinals match up, with Weber getting reprimanded by the referees as time expired during the Predators 3-2 win at home. After a hearing Thursday morning, Shanahan and league officials decided not to suspend Weber but rather fine him $2,500, which is the maximum allowed under the current CBA. But as you can see from the video, Weber clearly grabbed Zetterberg from the back of the helmet and smashed his head into the boards:
With all the head injuries that have occurred throughout the league in the last few years, it’s amazing that the league didn’t throw the book at Weber and make an example of him.
The fine is Weber’s second of the season, with the first coming thanks to a boarding call on Jannik Hansen of the Vancouver Canucks back in October.
Shanahan released a statement Thursday morning explaining the reasons for only slapping Weber on the wrist with a fine. “We felt this was a reckless and reactionary play on which Weber threw a glancing punch and then shoved Zetterberg's head into the glass. We reached out to Detroit following the game and were informed that Zetterberg did not suffer an apparent injury and should be in the lineup for Game 2. This play and the fine that addressed it will be significant factors in assessing any incidents involving Shea Weber throughout the remainder of the playoffs,” Shanahan said.
Granted, there might not have been an injury on the play and that it might have simply been an involuntary reaction after Zetterberg had hit him just moments before but the fact that there was no suspension is almost laughable. There is no parity in the league when it comes to handing out suspensions; it simply lacks any sort of consistency. But while most – except for Nashville fans, of course – are outraged by the lack of discipline, World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) appreciated Weber’s move.
After the game, the Executive Vice President of Tallent Translations for the WWE John Laurinatis tweeted: “Thinking Shea Weber might make a good addition to @WWE #Raw roster with moves like this: wwe.me/aeIlz #PeoplePower #StanleyCup #NHL”
Though he is only 26 and has plenty of years left in his NHL career, Weber might have just found some work once he retires. The tough part would be thinking up a good nickname. No matter what he does in the future, we are willing to bet the NHL will be watching him closely for the remainder of the playoffs.
Ed is the lead hockey writer for CraveOnline Sports. You can follow him on Twitter @PhillyEdMiller, and subscribe on Facebook @CraveOnline Sports.