Agent Alan Walsh blasts NHL for Pierre Marc Bouchard Suspension
Last night Pierre March Bouchard of the Minnesota Wild received a four minute double minor for a high sticking call to the face of Columbus Bluejackets Matt Calvert. Today the NHL’s new sherrif Brendan Shanahan handed down a very stiff penalty giving him a two game suspension.
Below is the play of exactly what happened:
Since Shanahan took over the role of policing the league from Colin Campbell handing out league suspensions he’s done a fantastic job trying to clean up the game. Because in past years the league has been extremely lenient letting players get away with far to many dirty & cheap plays. That being said in this circumstance Shanahan went way overboard and NO suspension should have been handed out. Especially when you watch the video a couple of times and realize that it was actually Calvert’s stick that himself in the face and NOT Bouchard. Bad enough he was penalized on the ice but then to have him still receive a two game suspension after Shanahan had time to review the video; that is INEXCUSABLE.
Today Bouchard’s agent Alan Walsh decided to stand up for his client and relased this statement to the league via email:
“Pierre-Marc Bouchard is one of the most sportsmanlike and gentlemanly players in the game today, n a career spanning nine NHL seasons, he’s acquired a grand total of two major penalties.”
“What message is Brendan Shanahan sending with this unwarranted suspension? All perennial Lady Byng [most gentlemanly player] candidates should now be on notice that when an opponent high sticks himself in the mouth, he can expect a minimum suspension of two regular-season NHL games.”
“This result is a shameful farce for the league.”
“On the play in question … even the two on-ice officials did not deem Pierre-Marc’s actions worthy of a major penalty.”
“The notion that Pierre-Marc Bouchard intentionally swung his stick into the face of an opponent is patently absurd. He’s just not that kind of a player.”
“All in all, these twenty minute disciplinary hearings are nothing more than kangaroo courts, more league effort goes into writing scripts and producing slick videos than in getting to the real facts of what occurred on the ice.
“It’s an inherent conflict of interest for an employee of the NHL to be conducting these hearings and imposing suspensions on players. It’s time for a neutral third party not associated with the league or the players to take over supplementary discipline as this system clearly does not work.”
Absolutely fantastic. He is 100% correct when it comes to assessing the process in how this was determined while factoring in Bouchard’s history in the league. The only part I don’t agree with his final statement in regards to the NHL need a neutral third party to hand out suspensions; because it’s not like Shanahan has a vested interest in any particular team and or players. What would a third party do to change the situation? It should be pretty cut and dry; doesn’t require someone else to do this job. If anything it’s great that someone whose been so close to the game for the time Shanny was has this role.
Walsh’s final statement was probably just his emotions getting the best of him in a frustrating time. Because let’s face it; for the most part Shanahan has done a great job in his new role and this only his first real mistake.
Hopefully Walsh leads a successful appeal against the NHL and gets this suspension lifted.
By Chad Margulius