New NHL Senior VP of Player Safety suspended Calgary's Pierre-Luc Letourneau- Leblond for 4 pre-season games and 1 regular season game for his hit from behind on Vancouver tryout Matt Clackson. The 4 + 1 game suspension for boarding is nothing we have not seen before, and some might even say it could be an easy decision, even though the hit itself was not broadcast as suspension worthy by any media in Vancouver much less out east. What could be considered a revolutionary change was the method in which the suspension was released. While most media outlets were debating how many games a hit from behind by Philadelphia Flyers Jody Shelly was going to be worth, Brendan Shanahan posted this to his twitter account:
The link in the tweet sent everyone to NHL.com to watch a video of Brendan announcing the suspension and taking the viewer step by step through his reasoning and pointing out the relevant events in a video of the hit itself.
In releasing these videos, the NHL is sending a clear signal to the players, media, and fans that they are watching and perfectly capable of creating cuture change in the NHL.
In the Colin Campbell era it was the media that spread his reasoning to the masses, they chose what to put on the air, and whatever interpretation of the events that told their stories. Interviews with officials were often filled with confusing and conflicting information, leading to a lack of credibility at best, and accusations of bias and corruption at worst.
In the Leblond suspension video Shanahan focuses on key points.
1) Shows using the hit video that Leblond had targeted Clackson well in advance.
2) Clackson did not position himself immediately before the hit and that Leblond could have avoided the severity of the check.
3) Leblond had hit Clackson hard and high from behind in violation of the boarding rule.
5) Lastly he identifies Leblond as a repeat offender
All in all the video is hard to argue, or misinterpret by the media, even though I am certain they will try. The transparency of the new process will empower the NHL to create a consistent record of incidents as they happen, and will eventually provide a clear line between what is legal and what is not. The hockey operations department also released this introduction video to player safety explaining the new rule changes, including an explanation of why Getzlaf's hit on Hamhuis last year would not be suspended this year either.
This is a great start for the NHL and Shanahan. I hope they can keep it up all year long.
Jody Shelly Suspension Video: 5 Reg games ( Multi - Repeat Offender)
Brad Boyes Suspension Video: 2 Pre-Season Games + labeled repeat offender
Brad Staubitz Video: 3 Reg Games (Repeat Offender)