Shanahan explains non-suspension for Alfredsson hit

As Daniel Alfredsson continues to recover from the concussion he suffered last Saturday — he went through light off-ice exercises Wednesday — Wojtek Wolski has skated free of suspension.

Shanahan explains non-suspension for Alfredsson hit
PITTSBURGH, PA - APRIL 13: Jason Spezza #19 of the Ottawa Senators handles the puck against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the game at Consol Energy Center on April 13, 2014 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Senators defeated the Penguins 3-2 in a shootout. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

As Daniel Alfredsson continues to recover from the concussion he suffered last Saturday — he went through light off-ice exercises Wednesday — Wojtek Wolski has skated free of suspension.

That has led to speculation that new NHL discipline chief Brendan Shanahan has gone soft on crime, following his initial heavy handed suspensions.

Shanahan says Wolski’s reputation, or lack thereof, weighed on his decision to not punish him.

“Wolski’s not a dirty player, and has no history of being a dirty player. There are collisions that occur on the ice where, unfortunately, one player sees it just prior,” Shanahan said in a video at NHL.com. “On this play here, Wolski has got to get out to this point. You see here, (Marian) Gaborik, the left winger, has to come all the way to Wolski’s point on the right side because Wolski’s not there. [Wolski] ran into Alfredsson trying to get there.

“We’ve seen enough of these now —  and I don’t like these — but seen enough of them where when one player sees [the hit] just prior, he tenses up. And sometimes he even leans in, because he’s bracing for an impact. When both guys see it, it’s two guys tensing up and they bounce off each other and everybody’s fine. It’s really unfortunate here, when one player doesn’t see it and the other guy does.

“Now, if I felt this was intentional, or if it wasn’t at the last instant, just prior. [If] I might have felt there was any kind of sneakiness or history of these types of offenses for Wolski, he would have been suspended.”

It won’t do much to satisfy Senators GM Bryan Murray or Alfredsson’s teammates, but at least Shanahan explained himself — albeit five days too late.

From Shanahan’s reasoning, is it now safe to assume that Wolski does have a track record? That if he makes a similar controversial hit again, he’ll be disciplined? The five-game suspension to Edmonton Oilers defenceman Andy Sutton, who does have a history of borderline hits, would appear to be evidence of that.

At the earliest, Alfredsson isn’t expected to be back until next Wednesday against the New York Rangers. He has yet to speak publicly about Wolski’s hit.

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