The Shanahammer Should Be Dropped On The NHL Media

The playful metaphor that was used by The Checking Line at the beginning of the season is the only thing playful about the NHL Discipline Office these days.  It has become once again the mainstay of controversy in the NHL playoffs.  Fining coaches unnecessary amounts for comments made, yet allowing player safety issues to be countered by useless fines.  The NHL has lost its hold on itself and there is only one thing to truly blame, its own media.

The most perfect example of this, recent comments made by New York Rangers head coach John Tortorella.  Why is this, the perfect example? Well that can be answered by just checking the NHL web site.  Coach Torts’ comments were all over the web site just minutes after the coach spoke.  Even after being fined a ridiculous amount, the NHL had his comments as the main story.  Shortly after this happened, the NHL decided to place the rebuttal of the Pittsburgh Penguins organization next to this.

Pittsburgh penguins GM Ray Shero, Head Coach Dan Bylsma, and Captain Sidney Crosby were all part of these headlines.  All of them stating their own opinion on the issue.  The problem with this is that the NHL frowned upon the comments, yet still has the nerve to place them among their top stories. 

The hypocrisy that ensues is as follows.  The NHL fines a coach for the improper comments, then uses these comments to make money, completing the circle.  This is not the only incident though.  The NHL recently fined Nashville Predators defenseman Shea Weber 2,500 dollars for a blatant cheap shot in the final seconds of an NHL playoff game against the Detroit Red Wings.  This hit was plastered all over the NHL’s website, along with funny taglines as if this hit was a joke.  The NHL frowns upon such hits, yet still uses them as a method to make money.

Many people are now speaking of the Mario Lemieux comments from last season’s game against the New York Islanders, complaining that Mario has yet to say anything about the recent dirty play of the Pittsburgh Penguins.  While they have a point to their complaints, it is not beneficial to the NHL to post such a comment.  This type of comment would diffuse the controversy by providing clarity, something the NHL would lose traffic over.  The NHL is not about to lose money by posting any such comment. 

In a recent article by the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, it was mentioned that Mario Lemieux was seen standing outside of the locker room, shaking his head and mumbling.  What he mumbled was that this was not the team that he has come to now, in a simpler manner.  This, though, would never make the headlines.  The same can be said for Rangers Head Coach John Tortorella.  His recent comments on “players not respecting one another anymore is sickening” made all the headlines.  Yet with recent actions by Ranger Carl Hagelin, not one person is asking were Tortorella’s comments on player “respect” are. Like the NHL would post that even if they were made. 

It seems the NHL’s double standard is killing its own integrity.  They are fining and suspending players, then using such actions to make money by soliciting traffic to their own web site.  When the media of the organization has turned to such hypocritical actions, we as the consumer lose.  We no longer see the beauty of the game and the greatness of the playoffs.  We no longer see the great play of a core of rookies beating a cup favorite.  We no longer see the NHL for what it is. We see a soap opera, a pathetic masquerade of the he said she said, and we see actions that are deemed unnecessary promoted for monetary reasoning.  I am not on here to say what Pittsburgh had done was even remotely fine, because it was wrong at every level.  As were actions of Shea Weber and the hit by Carl Hagelin, yet the NHL has promoted them in headlines just minutes after the actions. This hypocrisy cannot be tolerated.

 I wrote that the NHL media had to become more responsible to help protect the integrity of the game.  I was angry with their hypocrisy and even angrier at their inconsistency.  There has been a loss of integrity within the game and yet, the media has taken that to a whole new level.  It is anyone and everyone’s responsibility to report as responsible as possible, the NHL deserves better and its fans deserve better. 

Today the NHL upheld the suspension of Penguins forward Craig Adams and fined head coach Dan Bylsma 10,000 dollars.  This was the first move to show that the NHL is doing the right thing, but it now seems to be too little too late.