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Did Shaw deserve to get a major penalty?

4/15/2012

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Chicago Blackhawks forward Andrew Shaw shouldn’t be in any more trouble than the game misconduct he already earned for colliding with Phoenix Coyotes goaltender Mike Smith in the Hawks’ thrilling 4-3 overtime win in Game 2 of their Western Conference quarterfinal on Saturday.

The hit deserved a penalty, but did it deserve to be a major infraction leading to an expulsion?

“It met all the criteria of being more than a minor penalty, and a major penalty was the right call I believe,” on-site NHL supervisor of officials Mick McGeough said after the game. “To come in at that speed and make contact with the goalie… just because he’s outside of the crease, he’s not fair game. Therefore, the guys thought it was sufficient for a major penalty, and a game misconduct because of the severity of the hit. We’re not doctors. We don’t know if the goalie is hurt or not. We penalize the foul not the result.”

McGeough makes a decent case, which brings to bear the notion that Smith looked down and out after the hit but stayed in the game. Afterward he said he was, “100 percent.” So did his lengthy stay on the ice draw Shaw a worse penalty? The Hawks thought so.

“Obviously the officials thought Smith was done, that’s probably why we got the five-minute penalty,” Jonathan Toews said.

Lucky for Shaw the ensuing power-play goal didn’t turn out to be the game-winner. It was five seconds away from being just that.

“I was down on myself,” Shaw said. “I know we have a hard-working team. They stick together and pulled out the win.”



And now Shaw has to wait to hear about further discipline. In cases like this, the league will sometimes judge Shaw punished enough since he missed half of a playoff game already.

“It’s not my decision to make,” Shaw said about further punishment. “I can’t comment on it.”

Toews’ penalty

The worst call of the night came against Toews and led to the first power-play goal by Phoenix. As Toews received a pass and crashed the net with the puck in the first period he came close to running into Smith. But Smith put up his hands and initiated the contact, pushing Toews to the side. Toews was called for goaltender interference and Antoine Vermette scored on the ensuing power play.

“I felt like I had something to say there,” Toews said of talking to the referees. “I had the puck. I’m not the type of player thinking of crashing the goaltender with the puck. I kind of turned into him. He got his hands up in my face to protect himself.”

Replays clearly showed Smith made the intial contact. After the game, McGeough, agreed it was a bad call.

“Soft call, didn’t like it at all,” McGeough said. “I talked to [referee] Paul Devorksi about it. He’ll look at it on the tape and see if it’s the type of call we want made on a regular basis.”

Slappers

  • Bryan Bickell's power-play goal was his first with the man advantage this season and the third of his career. He also won the championship wrestling belt the team hands out to the player of the game after wins.

    “I got it once [this year] because John Scott had it once and he just felt bad for me so he gave it to me. But this is the first one I earned,” Bickell joked.

  • The Hawks had 50 shots on net. Marian Hossa led with six. Brent Seabrook and Patrick Sharp each had five.

  • Joel Quenneville broke up his line combinations, putting Patrick Kane back at center with Hossa on his wing. Toews centered Sharp and Viktor Stalberg for much of the night.

    Quotable

  • “That’s the way it is in the playoffs. It can be anybody. A couple big goals by him tonight. He was doing it all. Huge goal.” -- Toews, on Bickell being the hero.

  • “I made contact, not that I meant to. I’m glad he’s OK.” -- Shaw, on his collision with Smith.

  • “We have to be committed to blocking shots or [be] in the lanes better.” -- Quenneville, on the Hawks penalty kill giving up two goals.