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New Jersey Devils' Patrik Elias (26), of the Czech Republic, lays on the ice after an apparent hit to the face as trainer Richard Stinziano checks on him during the first period of Game 1 of their NHL hockey Stanley Cup Eastern Conference final playoff against the New York Rangers, Monday, May 14, 2012, at New York's Madison Square Garden. (Julio Cortez/AP/Julio Cortez/AP)
New Jersey Devils' Patrik Elias (26), of the Czech Republic, lays on the ice after an apparent hit to the face as trainer Richard Stinziano checks on him during the first period of Game 1 of their NHL hockey Stanley Cup Eastern Conference final playoff against the New York Rangers, Monday, May 14, 2012, at New York's Madison Square Garden. (Julio Cortez/AP/Julio Cortez/AP)

Suspensions have ruled the NHL playoffs Add to ...

For the NHL, it was hoped the start of the playoffs would divert attention away from a regular-season where the league’s reputation was battered by continued incidents of head shots and concussions.

Instead, the violence escalated where league discipline czar Brendan Shanahan was kept busy at the beginning of the playoffs, handing out eight suspensions and a couple of fines after the first week of play.

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Nashville’s Shea Weber got thing going on April 11 in the first game of the series between the Predators and the Detroit Red Wings when he smashed the head of Henrik Zetterberg into the glass.

For that Weber received a $2,500 fine.

On April 14, there were three separate incidents that incurred league sanctions, including two during Game 2 of the Ottawa Senators- New York Rangers series.

New York forward Carl Hagelin was handed a three-game suspension for elbowing Daniel Alfredsson, who later admitted the blow caused him a concussion. Ottawa defenceman Matt Carkner was also sat down for one game for fighting Brian Boyle.

That same night, Chicago Blackhawk forward Andrew Shaw charged into Phoenix Coyotes goalie Mike Smith that earned him a three-game suspension.

Three days later, in the most notorious incident of the playoffs so far, Coyotes forward Raffi Torres laid out Marian Hossa of the Blackhawks with a body check to the head that earned the Phoenix enforcer a 25-game suspension.

In a nasty Game 3 encounter between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh on April 15th, Aaron Asham of the Flyers was suspended for four games for a cross-check he levied upon Flyers centre Brayden Schenn.

In the same game, Pittsburgh’s Craig Adams was assessed a fighting instigator penalty for which he also received a one-game suspension while Pittsburgh coach Dan Bylsma was assessed a $10,000 fine.

On April 16, Washington forward Nicklas Backstrom cross-checked Boston forward Rich Peverley for which he received a one-game suspension.

Things calmed down somewhat as the NHL playoffs headed into the second round.

On May 6th, Philadelphia’s Claude Giroux delivered a hit on New Jersey’s Dainius Zubrus in Game 4 that earned him a one-game suspension.

In the Nashville-Phoenix series, Predators defenceman Rostislav Klesla received a one-game suspension for boarding Matt Halischuk of the Coyotes in Game 4 on May 4th.

There have been two suspensions so far in the Conference finals.

On May 15th, Martin Hanzal of the Coyotes boarded Dustin Brown of the Los Angeles Kings during Game 2 of the Western Conference final that brought an additional one-game suspension.

New York’s Brandon Prust also was tagged with a one-game suspension for an elbow to the back of the head of New Jersey’s Anton Volchenkov in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference final on May 19.

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