DETROIT — Detroit may get its first suspension of the season handed down by former Wing Brendan Shanahan, who is the NHL’s new disciplinarian chief.
Brendan Smith received a 10-minute misconduct and match penalty for a hit to the head on Chicago’s Ben Smith early in the third period.
Smith lowered his shoulder and nailed Smith in the head as he rushed into the Wings’ zone.
Shanahan has already handed down several suspensions in the preseason.
“So, the interesting thing about the league now, and I don’t doubt his shoulder hit his head … is there any responsibility on the puck carrier, toe-dragging, sliding sideways, to look after himself,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said after the game. “Is there or no? It doesn’t appear like there is anymore, is there?
“You come across the middle toe-dragging like this (has head down, looking at pretend puck), jumping up, and you get dinged,” Babcock continued. “I’m not saying our guy isn’t guilty, because the shoulder hit his head … you better not put yourself in those situations is what I would say. There will be a video report on it tomorrow, I’m sure.”
Babcock insisted Smith wasn’t trying to hit the Blackhawks player in the head.
“He knows it’s against the rules to hit the guy in the head,” Babcock said. “But he wasn’t trying to hit the guy in the head. He was trying to make a body contact and he would’ve made body contact, but the guy did this (puts head down, pretends to toe drag) right? But he left his head there.”
Wings defenseman Jakub Kindl also defended his teammate.
“He’s not a dirty player at all,” Kindl said. “From the bench, what I saw, I think (Ben) Smith was just trying to cut to the middle and I think he caught him with the shoulder or elbow. I really didn’t see that, but he definitely didn’t mean to hurt him or anything. He just tried to step up and make a hit. It happens sometimes. It’s part of the game,but I don’t think he meant to do that. He’s not that kind of guy.”