NHL shouldn't have used Shaw as example

CHICAGO -- Sometimes life is about timing. For Chicago Blackhawks rookie Andrew Shaw the timing of his hit illegal hit to the head of Phoenix Coyotes goaltender Mike Smith could not have been worse.

According to sources familiar with the situation, Shaw was made an example of when the league suspended him for three games starting with Tuesday night's Game 3 at the United Center.

After receiving overwhelming criticism for not penalizing Nashville's Shea Weber for a head slam on Detroit's Henrik Zetterberg, the NHL wanted to curb the idea that it was open season for the rest of the playoffs, especially when it comes to goaltenders. Shaw's suspension was the one that Weber never got. And the example to the rest of the league.

The NHL simply shouldn't do this. It's unfair to Shaw and the Blackhawks. Messages are fine to send, just not in the postseason.

We'll never know what the punishment to Shaw would have been if not for Weber. Half the game he missed plus three more seems harsh considering the victim himself stayed in the game and declared himself "100 percent." Those are two thoughts the league even pointed out in its suspension explanation. And even in the language about the hit itself it couldn't determine Shaw had intent to injure.

Think of it this way, isn't there plenty of grey area in which a suspension of less severity would have been acceptable by both sides? Would the Coyotes really have complained if Shaw sat out just one game? At the same time would the Predators really have a case if Weber sat out at least one as well? Sometimes common sense needs to prevail.

As much as Smith was the victim of a high hit, Shaw was the victim of poor timing -- and the league trying to fix a mistake it made at a different time, in a different series.

Maybe this was the reason for the delay in announcing Shaw's punishment. The league wanted to get the message they were sending just right.