Excuses instead of commitment. From the mouth of the new veep himself:
"In the end, we felt that Malone had committed to the hit when Campoli was upright. However, when the contact was made, Campoli's head position significantly changed just prior to the hit."
If the NHL doesn't understand that to eliminate hits to the head, it will even have to go as far as penalizing hits that could end up being a hit to the head (and do), then they are going nowhere on this. This is the perennial " he turned his back" argument those who care about player safety, but not at the expense of their entertainment take.
Curbing this habit, hits that might endanger the opponent's head, will be difficult, yes. But it will be impossible if hits like Malone's continue to go unpunished.
The lack of punishment in this case baffles. It really does. I can make sense of the excuses Shanahan and his office offer because I'm used to hearing things like that. But in the end, they are just excuses.
"There are elements about the hit that we don't like - specifically, the principal point of contact being the head and that it was not a full-body check. But the overriding factor in our judgment was that Campoli's loss of the puck and subsequent bending forward for it just prior contributed significantly, if not entirely, to those elements."
The opportunity is there, with the will of the current players, to rid the NHL game of this pointless element on the periphery. Seize the moment Shanny. Get this one in on the next rebound.
Punishment that matters
I've had the conversation several times now, and I'm sure I will again. I believe that the only way to truly rid this (or anything) from this game (or any other) is not through personal suspensions but through action that matters.
A suspension is money. But a penalty big enough is paid in points.
I don't know how big PP has to be in an extreme case, but let's say for the sake of argument, it's 10 minutes.
Do you think a player doesn't get an earful from his captain and his coach after a 10-minuter costs his team a game? Do you think said player will be told to just go out and do what he does after a couple of these?
No, of course not. Coaches live and die by the win. GMs as well. They pull the strings on a team and can actually change a player's or a number of players' behaviour.
Make the penalty affect the win column and you'll see. I believe this strongly.
Really though, if we can't even get suspensions done, what's the hope of something like this?