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Phoenix Coyotes' Mike Smith falls to the ice after being hit during action against the Chicago Blackhawks during the second period of Game 2 of the first round of the Western Conference Quarterfinals Saturday, April 14, 2012 in Glendale.

David Kadlubowski/AP Photo

Andrew Shaw, we hardly knew ye.

The Chicago Blackhawks rookie may have played his last game of the NHL playoffs after league disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan came down hard on him on Tuesday afternoon for his hit on Phoenix Coyotes goalie Mike Smith in Saturday's Game 2.

Shaw will now miss Games 3, 4 and 5 of their first round series.

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"A goalkeeper is not fair game just because he is outside the goal crease," Shanahan said in his video explanation for the ruling.

"The contact Shaw makes with Smith is not incidental. It is a forceful blow delivered by Shaw's shoulder to Smith's chin. Also, in our opinion, Shaw does not make a reasonable effort to avoid such contact.

"We have taken into consideration that Smith remained in the game and completed it and suffered no apparent injury."

Compared to other decisions for hits on goaltenders made during the season, Shaw's three-game suspension is fairly harsh, something that may signal the league is preparing to crack down on the series of illegal hits that have plagued the first round of the postseason.

By comparison, the Nashville Predators' Jordin Tootoo received two games for charging Buffalo Sabres netminder Ryan Miller back in early December, and Boston Bruins winger Milan Lucic received no suspension for a big hit on Miller earlier in the year.

Shaw isn't exactly a household name, but he played 20 minutes in Game 1 and was a productive member on a third line with Dave Bolland in the second half of the season.

Three more players have hearings on Tuesday: Two from the Pittsburgh Penguins (James Neal and Arron Asham) and Washington Capitals centre Nicklas Backstrom.

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About the Author
Hockey Reporter

James joined The Globe as an editor and reporter in the sports department in 2005 and now covers the NHL and the Toronto Maple Leafs. More

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