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NHL discipline still inconsistent under Shanahan - 12-12-11

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

Penguins defenseman Robert Bortuzzo was sidelined for Saturday's game on Long Islander due to concussion-like symptoms he suffered after a hit from Flyers forward Zack Rinaldo Tuesday.

The hit in question:

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It's difficult to tell exactly if Rinaldo made contact with Bortuzzo's head directly on the play. But obviously some damage was done since Bortuzzo was sidelined Saturday.

Rinaldo's hit does bear some similarities to other hits which have earned suspensions earlier this season from NHL discipline czar Brendan Shanahan (above). Buffalo's Brad Boyes on Toronto's Joe Cobourne:

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Detroit's Brendan Smith on Chicago's Ben Smith:

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Edmonton's Andy Sutton versus Colorado's Gabriel Landeskog:

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And Montreal's Max Pacioretty on Kris Letang:

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Rinaldo's hit is probably most similar to the Pacioretty-Letang hit. Bortuzzo, like Letang, was struk while following through on a shot. And if anything, the hit is even more egregious since it happened much longer after Pacioretty struck Letang.

Yet, Pacioretty had to sit out three games while Rinaldo didn't even get as much as a phone call from Shanahan.

Shanahan has made infinite improvements to how the NHL handles discipline. From being far more transparent than his predecessor Colin Campbell to just offering a better understanding on how the sport is played in the 2010s. But sadly, one trait which has carried over from Campbell's regime is the staggering inconsistency with which Shanahan handles the task.

(Photo: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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