April 18, 2012- The National Hockey League has become an area of free for all, with skaters taking runs at each other at will. Last year the NHL called upon former player Brendan Shanahan to be its disciplinary chief.
Up until early last week, Shanahan succeeded in his work. That all changed when Henrick Zetterberg was attacked by Shea Weber. Weber missed on his first attempt to bounce the head of Zetterberg off the Plexiglas, but succeeded on his second try. All Shanahan did was fine Weber a token amount.
After that, players started taking runs at one another, punching opponents who did not want to fight and targeting heads. Last week the Penguins looked like the Broadstreet Bullies of the 1970s. Even Sidney Crosby dared nearly every player on the Flyers to fight him.
Broadcasters of the game, such as Mike Milbury expressed their displeasure about the recent hooliganism. Many say Shanahan has lost control. Milbury was never a player in complete control and if he thinks the NHL is out of control, he very well may have a point.
Shanahan has been too inconsistent in his rulings of late. However, some of the old codes among the players that once governed the tough sport have been lost. For years, clean sound body checks nearly never resulted in a fight, in today’s game, they are commonplace.