Last year a good portion of the junior hockey season was dominated by negative headlines. From Mike Liambis to Patrice Cormier the OHL and QMJHL kicked both out by January 25th. The CHL season is just 7 games in and already the WHL is faced with a tough decision.
Wednesday night an ugly hit in the WHL left one player injured and one facing a lengthy suspension. A couple videos coming up...
My first reaction to this was WOW...that is a terrible hit. Scott Nichols is at the goal line when Brendan Shinnimin hits him hard from behind into the end boards. Did Nichols think Shinniman was going to be able to make a play on the sharp angled shot to the net? That's one argument that might be made. Regardless it's an unacceptable play by Shinniman and he deserves to be punished.
Some have compared this to the Mike Liambas hit on Ben Fanelli hit from last year. The Erie Otters forward hammered the young defenceman behind the net. It was a thunderous hit to be sure, but at least Fanelli had the puck at one time in the play. We at TPS didn't think it was a dirty hit, and looks very clean compared to the hit above.
This is closer to the Patrice Cormier on Mikael Tam hit from last year in the QMJHL.
TPS contacted various sources across the CHL. Some media members, some in hockey management of various leagues and received everything from, 3, 5, 8, 10, and a few 15's.
Shinniman doesn't have the reputation as a dirty player but you have to have more respect then that. Some have used the word "vicious" and "intent to injure" in conversations I've had. The point was also raised that Shinniman at the time of the hit was tied for the league lead in scoring with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Will that play into the suspension because he's viewed as a star player?
It better not. Shinninam was given 2 game for boarding with more to come. I think if the WHl is perceived to be letting a player off easy they're asking for trouble, and if I was Richard Doekrsen it wouldn't be less then 20 games.
What would you do?