Shanahan has handed down a one-game suspension to James Neal for his charge on Philadelphia Flyers star forward Claude Giroux (for which he received a minor charging penalty during the game). The “key points” in deciding suspension would be for only one game was the fact that Giroux was not injured and the fact that James Neal has been suspended only once before. Ironically, Neal was not assessed any additional punishment for his hit on forward Sean Couturier which appeared to be a harder hit and seemed to cause injury to Couturier. Shanahan accepted Neal’s explanation for the Courturier hit but not the Giroux charge (I would assume that it’s because the one was targeted to the head although he left his skates on the other one). So, again, it’s a matter of inconsistency with league discipline.
Arron Asham has been suspended for four games for his cross-checking hit on Brayden Schenn. According to Shanahan, the following was taken into account when assessing the four-game suspension to Asham: it was a match penalty, no injury occurred to Schenn, and Asham hasn’t previously been suspended in his 13-year NHL career.
With the situation Pittsburgh finds itself in, being down three players, especially a top forward like Neal, doesn’t bode well for climbing out of the hole they’ve dug for themselves in this 3-0 series. Stranger things have been known to happen and the Penguins are a team fully capable of such a miraculous comeback.