Newly acquired Washington Captial Kevin Shattenkirk has been suspended two games for charging against Los Angeles defenceman Kevin Gravel.
Shattenkirk literally launched himself into Gravel, cathching him square in the face with a flying shoulder block. I have no idea what he was thinking.
I thought two games was lenient considering the height and the absolute lack of control Shattenkirk created with his decision. I don’t think it was outrageously predatory, but the danger it created was extremely preventable. At this point I’m just grateful they chose to suspend.
Many are defending Shattenkirk or questioning the NHL Department of Player Safety decision by comparing this to recent other hits that went unpunished, the two most notable being Evgeni Malkin on Blake Wheeler and Justin Abdelkader on Brian Campbell.
I don’t think the Shattenkirk hit is comparable to anything from recent memory, let alone the two hits in question. If there’s an example of anyone else from the modern era so blatantly leaving their feet and propelling outward, please send it to me.
I thought the Malkin hit did deserve a two game suspension. He went higher than he should have. It has nothing to do with the injury. It was a high hit whether he made head contact or not. But it wasn’t even close to Shattenkirk’s display.
As for Abdelkader, there was nothing wrong with that hit. He starts nice and low. He did get up a little bit into the hit but nothing to write home about. Where it looks really bad is how he lifts upwards after the hit, but that was definitely after the hit. If he had truly launched forward when leaving his feet, there’s no way Campbell wouldn’t have been slammed violently backwards into the boards just a couple of feet away. Instead, he fell harmlessly almost straight down. Abdelkader is propelled upwards by the impact.
Video: HABS ET LNH
Shattenkirk may as well have been jumping off a spring board. It’s apples and oranges.