It’s been three years since an NHL player was suspended for a head-butt. Despite the actions of Chicago Blackhawks forward Andrew Shaw on St. Patrick’s Day, it appears that streak will continue.
Shaw was given a five-minute major and game misconduct for head-butting New York Islanders center Brock Nelson on Sunday.
The incident occurred 5:30 into the second period with the Blackhawks leading 2-0. Shaw and Islanders center Brock Nelson collided along the boards. After the puck left the zone, the two continued to battle, with Nelson delivering a series of cross-checks. Shaw promptly ended the dispute by head-butting Nelson, who fell to the ice.
Shaw headed to the penalty box momentarily before being escorted off the ice by linesman Bryan Pancich. Nelson remained in the game.
Referees for the game were Chris Rooney and Dan O’Halloran. Linesmen were Bryan Pancich and Lonnie Cameron.
The league has opted not to pursue any further disciplinary action.
NHL Dept. of Player Safety head honcho Stephane Quintal spoke with Andrew Shaw today. Penalties called on ice were sufficient. #Blackhawks
— Chris Kuc (@ChrisKuc) March 18, 2015
The initial call on the ice and a lack of better camera angles contributed to Shaw’s lack of supplemental discipline.
The issue with Shaw is the replays aren't great…ref on-ice called it game misconduct, not match. That report is the foundation.
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) March 18, 2015
Headbutting suspensions have not been handed out in the NHL for quite some time. In 2011, Patrick Kaleta of the Buffalo Sabres was suspended four games for head-butting Jake Voracek. That same season, Minnesota’s Nate Prosser missed one game for a head-butt to Chicago’s Jamal Mayers.
Shaw has been suspended before. He sat for three playoff games for charging Arizona Coyotes goaltender Mike Smith in Game 2 of their first-round series.
It looks like he’ll dodge suspension this time around.