Brendan Shanahan has taken over as the NHL disciplinarian. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
VANCOUVER -- The decision to replace Colin Campbell with Brendan Shanahan as the
NHL's chief disciplinarian on Wednesday likely will result in elongated or harsher suspensions.
In his annual state-of-union address prior to the Stanley Cup Final opener in Vancouver, in which deputy commissioner Bill Daly also revealed that the salary cap could increase as high as $63 million US for the 2011-12 season, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman admitted he wants to stiffer supplementary discipline.
"That is my hope and expectation," Bettman said when asked if the hockey world will see longer suspensions with Shanahan in place as the head of NHL safety and the hockey operations department after 13 years of Campbell doling out suspensions.
"That's something we want to discuss more fully with the Players' Association. But from my standpoint and Brendan's standpoint, if there is certain conduct that we want to see out of the game then we have to make sure we do what is necessary."
Campbell endured some rough times this season. There was an e-mail scandal last fall, in which he wrote in a missive that Boston Bruins Marc Savard was a "little fake artist," to ruling no suspension for Bruins defenceman Zdeno Chara's hit on Montreal Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty in early March.Time for a change
It was about that time that Campbell approached Bettman to say it was time for a change. Campbell, whose son Gregory plays for the Bruins, will stay to watch over other duties in the hockey operations department, like technological advancements and the central scouting branch after the passing of its director E.J. McGuire.
"As I told Gary, it's a job that needs fresh eyes, a fresh look," Campbell said. "I've been doing it for 13 years and if you're going to get out of that rut you have to move on."
As Bettman stated, Campbell's job was a thankless one. He often was accused of playing favourites because of his many ties within the league as well as not being tough enough.
Shanahan remarked that Campbell should be thanked for the job he did in the past 13 years, to which Campbell replied "you won't be thanking me next year."
Campbell stated that going forward it was important for the players to have as much input as possible as to how they want the game to be played.
"It's very important to have that feel with the players and that understanding of how they want the game to be played," he said.
Shanahan plans to talk to as many players and others in the hockey world for input before he begins his new role out of the New York office next season.
"I can't promise how I will view each individual situation. It's important to state I do love the physical aspect of hockey," Shanahan said. "It's important to some balance to keep that in the game, to allow players to play on their toes and at the same time let them know what they can and can't do."
He also wants to be more transparent in explaining his thought process on suspensions.
No doubt Shanahan will face the same sort of criticism that Campbell did when he has to rule on incidents involving his former teams, coaches and friends like Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman.
"You're assuming that Steve and I are still friends," Shanahan joked.
Shanahan joined the NHL front office less than two years ago. He was appointed to run a blue-ribbon panel dealing with concussions, along with Yzerman, Dallas Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk, and NHL executive Rob Blake. They are expected to make their first report to the general managers at their meeting next week.
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