Shea Weber is the luckiest man in the NHL playoffs and by extension so is his team, the Nashville Predators.
NHL senior vice-president of player safety and hockey operations Brendan Shanahan elected not to suspend the Predators defenceman for punching Detroit Red Wings forward Henrik Zetterberg and then slamming his head face-first into the glass as their playoff game ended Wednesday night in a 3-2 Nashville win.
It seems the fact Zetterberg was not seriously injured was a significant factor in Shanahan’s decision to levy a $2,500 (all currency U.S.) fine on Weber rather than a suspension.
“We felt this was a reckless and reactionary play on which Weber threw a glancing punch and then shoved Zetterberg's head into the glass,” Shanahan said in a news release. “We reached out to Detroit following the game and were informed that Zetterberg did not suffer an apparent injury and should be in the lineup for Game 2.
“This play and the fine that addressed it will be significant factors in assessing any incidents involving Shea Weber throughout the remainder of the playoffs.”
In other words, Weber is on notice any further imitations of a professional wrestler will see him watching games from the press box.
There was no immediate reaction from the Red Wings and general manager Ken Holland declined to comment earlier Thursday. It is unlikely there will be any outbursts over the decision but there is no doubt there will be much anger behind the scenes, which promises to make an intense playoff series much, much hotter.