- Thursday, April 12, 2012 4:28 AM
- Written By: Josh Marks
The National Hockey League playoffs are under way, and the first test of the NHL's more aggressive action in enforcing the rules against hits to the head occurred in the waning seconds of Nashville's Game 1 victory over Detroit at Bridgestone Arena. Preds defenseman Shea Weber, his team shorthanded and clinging to a one-goal lead, slammed Wings forward Henrik Zetterberg's head into the glass twice.
Luckily, Zetterberg didn't appear to be seriously injured by the malicious attack. But regardless, this is a big test for the NHL's head disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan. Does he suspend Weber for one or two games to send a message that pro wrestling moves won't be tolerated in professional hockey? But this isn't the regular season. This is the playoffs where every game matters and the loss of a key player on the blue line for even a game could cost the series for the Predators.
But while Shanahan needs to be aware of the consequences for Nashville, he could also want to send a strong message to the league that these antics simply won't be tolerated. The fact that Weber is a repeat offender could weigh heavily on the decision. Weber was fined $2,500 last October for a boarding penalty on Vancouver's Jannik Hansen.
What makes the head slam even more curious is the fact that Weber is a recent concussion victim. He suffered a concussion this past December after a hit to the head from Dallas Stars defenseman Mark Fistric and was sidelined four games. Now Weber might sit out as the perpetrator instead of the victim. You would think Weber would have learned a lesson about how dangerous hits to the head can be, but apparently not. Weber and his team might pay a heavy price for his unsportsmanlike play Wednesday night.