NHL pre-season more violent than ever

The Toronto Maple Leafs brawl with the Buffalo Sabres at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Sept....

The Toronto Maple Leafs brawl with the Buffalo Sabres at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Sept. 22, 2013. (MICHAEL PEAKE/QMI Agency)

CHRIS STEVENSON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:54 PM ET

Isn’t this usually about the time when everybody bemoans the NHL pre-season and wishes it away?

Can’t wait for the regular season to start?

The way things are going, the start of the regular season might be anti-climactic.

If the goal of the exhibition season is to get you ready for the real thing, NHL vice-president of Regulating Stupidity Brendan Shanahan is going to be the most ready guy in the league.

He handed out suspensions Monday to Vancouver Canucks forwards Zack Kassian (rest of pre-season and five regular-season games) and Dale Weise (rest of pre-season). Kassian was banned for high-sticking and breaking the jaw of Edmonton Oilers centre Sam Gagner and Weise for an elbow to the head of Edmonton’s Taylor Hall.

The mayhem we have seen lately in the pre-season – it might have peaked Sunday night with the Buffalo Sabres and Toronto Maple Leafs’ line brawl – seems to be indicative of the way the NHL game has changed since two lockouts ago and is keeping Shanahan busy.


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