Does Andrew Shaw Deserve Discipline For His Hit On Mike Smith?

By Randy Holt

The Chicago Blackhawks defeated the Phoenix Coyotes in Game 2 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals on Saturday night, but it wasn’t a game without controversy.

As the officiating has been all season, and particularly in the playoffs, there were a few questionable calls, both ways, on Saturday. But for the Coyotes fans, who lost and are looking for someone to place the blame on, they’ll remember Game 2 for the hit Andrew Shaw laid on Phoenix netminder Mike Smith.

The hit took place in the second period, with Smith attempting to clear the puck out from behind his own net. Shaw skated in, and his shoulder or head made contact with Smith’s head.

Smith stayed down for quite a bit, which is scary for a guy that has a history of concussions. Shaw was handed a five-minute major for the penalty, and hit with a game misconduct. Yet, Smith stayed in the game.

Right there is the first issue I have with this whole situation. You have a guy who has a history of concussion issues, stays down on the ice for quite a few minutes, and he stays in the game? Even if he was later determined to be fine, a league that is apparently trying to be more concerned with player safety should be taking said player into the locker room for evaluation.

But as far as the hit by Shaw. It’s certainly deserving of a penalty, especially when you take into account how much the NHL protects their goaltenders. But a five minute major? A game misconduct? Neither of those were necessary, and were almost certainly linked to Smith’s history/the fact that he was down on the ice for so long.

Smith was trying to clear the puck, and his follow-through made it almost impossible for Shaw to avoid him, even though it looked like he was attempting to avoid contact with Smith. It’d likely be very easy to tell if the hit was malicious, and it wasn’t. If you want intention, look at Duncan Keith. Of course, if you’re a Coyotes fan, you’re likely to think that Shaw’s intention was to decapitate Smith.

Shaw has a disciplinary hearing for the extraordinarily inconsistent Brendan Shanahan to determine whether or not the 20-year-old Shaw will be suspended.

I don’t think there’s enough ground for a suspension here. First of all, let’s get rid of the idea that it was head to head. It wasn’t. And the fact that Shaw was ejected from the game should be punishment enough. But between Smith’s history and his theatrics, I could certainly see Shaw getting a game here, simply because of those two facts.

Though, anything Shanahan hands down this point would be considered a joke, given that Shea Weber received nothing more than a fine for his incredibly boneheaded hit(s) on Henrik Zetterberg.

You can see video of the Shaw hit below:

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