Hey Shanahan! What the... ? Gryba hit was clean!

Hey Shanahan! What the... ? Gryba hit was clean!
Posted on May 4, 2013 | James O'Grady | Written on May 4, 2013
Letter type:

Author's Note:

Author's Note:

My response to Brendan Shanahan's decision to suspend Eric Gryba for two games after his clean hit on Lars Eller in Game 1 of the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs between the Ottawa Senators and Montreal Canadians.

Dear Brendan Shanahan,

I'm finding it hard to believe that you, a former NHLer of great repute, would suspend Eric Gryba two games for doing nothing more than finishing a clean hit on open ice, in the Stanley Cup playoffs!

The video analysis from TSN (below) clearly shows that the hit was fair. Hip and shoulder, no elbow or forearm, as was the way with Scott Stevens back in the day.

No doubt the end result, Eller's blood gushing from his nose onto the ice, rattled and angered a few Montrealers. Its not often we see a scene like that in hockey these days. The end result of what happened, however, is not how the NHL or hockey in North America has ever been judged.

All hockey analysts outside of Quebec agree that the penalties Gryba received during the game were excessive. So what are you doing assessing Gryba an additional two game suspension? How can you possibly justify it? This is not Europe. We don't assess penalties based on the end result.

When I played in Switzerland in the 1990s, they would assess penalties based on the amount of noise a hit would make on the boards. The harder you hit a player, the more likely you were to be assessed a penalty. It was laughable. My Canadian teammates from Montreal spent a great deal of time in the penalty box cursing the Swiss for how soft they were. At that time the Swiss were not taught how to receive body checks, so they would get hurt any time they got hit.

This is the NHL, not a Swiss semi-pro league. Good, fast, hard hitting hockey is what Canadians love. Its what we, the fans live for in the playoffs.

This series is a classic match up between the original Best Team in the NHL and the League's most storied franchise. Its between two teams that share the same fan base. It could be a series to remember for the ages, but now it has been marred by being poorly officiated and weakened management.

There is no justification for your ruling other than the obvious. The NHL is afraid of what might happen in Montreal if the fans didn't get their pound of flesh. Did the May Day riot in Montreal play any part in your decision? I hope not.

All hockey fans know Eller's injuries are a result of his teammate Diaz, player #61, feeding Eller a sucker pass. Diaz owes Eller a 2-week all expenses paid vacation as a result. Gryba, owes him nothing.

What happens when someone actually lays out a player illegally? Will they be suspended 5 games? 10 games? You have set a very poor precedent for the rest of the 2013 playoffs. What happened to you? Is the big chair in New York getting a little too comfortable? You're a Canadian hockey player, please remember that.

About The Author

James OGrady's picture

I am a social media entrepreneur, communications professional, part-time school teacher and community leader living in Nepean, Ontario. I am also a hockey goaltender, political hack and most importantly, an advocate... More