Skip to main content

Suspend him or not: Andrew Shaw headbutts Brock Nelson

Chicago Blackhawks winger Andrew Shaw could be facing supplemental discipline following a headbutt that felled New York Islanders center Brock Nelson. Shaw has a suspension history, getting three playoff games for a collision with Coyotes goaltender Mike Smith in April 2012.
The Hockey News

The Hockey News

Chicago Blackhawks winger Andrew Shaw might be watching a few games from the sidelines after a headbutt to the face of New York Islanders sophomore center Brock Nelson.

Little more than five minutes into the second period of Tuesday’s game between the Blackhawks and Islanders, Shaw and Nelson tangled up along the boards and remained engaged for a few seconds after the puck had left the area. That’s when Shaw caught Nelson in the face with the top of his helmet. As Shaw skated away, the referee blew the play dead and Shaw was escorted to the penalty box:

On the initial look, it’s hard to see what happened on the far side of the ice, but the replay shows clearly the two got engaged and Shaw used his head to shove Nelson out of the way.

The case for suspending Shaw: The referees deemed the play violent enough to warrant a five-minute major and game misconduct, and, while there’s no immediate suspension for a play of this ilk, it’s blatant contact with an opponents head. It’s also an entirely reckless play that has no place in the game. Whether it was reactionary or not, Shaw should know better.

The case against suspending Shaw: Both Shaw and Nelson remained engaged, and, while it’s near impossible to put the onus on Nelson here, there’s a chance the Department of Player Safety sees Shaw’s case that he was being held on to. It also could appear incidental, but that’s hard to believe. The case against suspending Shaw isn’t fantastic.

What will come into play when the Department of Player Safety makes their ruling is that Shaw has received supplemental discipline in the past. Granted, he hasn’t been suspended since April 2012, when he missed the final three games of the Blackhawks first round series (and season) for colliding with Coyotes goaltender Mike Smith.

If Shaw is suspended, he’ll be the second Blackhawk handed a ban in the last week, as Joakim Nordstrom got two games on March 13 for a boarding Coyotes defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson.



Bluelines: Behind the Lightning's Remarkable Resiliency

Stan Fischler looks at the Tampa Bay Lightning, Connor McDavid, John Tortorella and the Philadelphia Flyers, a major milestone for women's hockey, Frans Nielsen, Claude Giroux and so much more.


Filip Forsberg's Future Dominates Predators' Off-Season Speculation

The Nashville Predators have already made some noise this off-season, but it's Filip Forsberg's future that remains David Poile's off-season priority.

Zach Hyman

Zach Hyman Has Been Everything the Oilers Need Him to Be

The Edmonton Oilers made a big investment in Zach Hyman this offseason. Now, Hyman has helped them sit just eight wins away from Stanley Cup glory.