NHL suspensions lighter for stars

Track record shows non-star players tend to be banned longer

Updated: April 21, 2012, 12:56 PM ET
By Neil Greenberg | ESPN Insider
Campbell/ShanahanDave Sandford/Getty ImagesUnder both Colin Campbell and Brendan Shanahan, star players have received lesser suspensions.

The first round has been entertaining, but the extracurricular activities on the ice have been what's kept NHL senior vice president of player safety Brendan Shanahan busy. He has already handed out or upheld eight suspensions -- double the number handed out during the 2011 postseason.

The punishments have been levied against stars and grinders alike, but the severity of the suspensions has varied.

Nashville blueliner and Norris Trophy hopeful Shea Weber escaped serious punishment ($2,500 fine, no suspension) after grabbing Henrik Zetterberg's head and slamming him face-first into the glass at the end of Game 1 of their series. Chicago's Andrew Shaw wasn't so lucky, receiving three games for his hit on Phoenix Coyotes goaltender Mike Smith in Game 2 of their Western Conference quarterfinals.

The recent flurry of suspensions this postseason imply that Brendan Shanahan is a stricter disciplinarian since he took over responsibilities from Colin Campbell last summer, but is there a double standard for the NHL's star players?

"It's kind of been the case in the playoffs here that if some guys are easier to maybe give a longer suspension, they do it," said one current player, who does not fall into the star category. "A guy like Weber, I think it was a mistake to just give him a fine."


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Neil Greenberg is ESPN Insider's NHL analytics expert. His columns have appeared on the Washington Post website, and he is a regular guest on Sirius XM NHL Radio.