CALGARY - Pierre-Luc Leblond didn’t like being the first test case for Brendan Shanahan as the NHL’s new lord of discipline and the subsequent way the league explained his five-game suspension with a video on the Internet.
But that was because Leblond is paying the price for a situation he put himself in with a hit from behind on Vancouver’s Matt Clackson, not because of the punishment or airplay it received.
In fact, the Flames winger applauded the transparency.
“I think it’s a good thing,” Leblond said Friday. “If you want to send a message and for the guys to learn from that, the best way is to explain it, and I think Mr. Shanahan does a good job.”
Leblond was suspended for the remainder of the pre-season and one regular-season game.
What made it unique was how Shanahan did a video with a breakdown of the infraction, explained exactly which rule was broken and what other factors came into the decision. The same process was used when it was announced Philadelphia Flyers forward Jody Shelley was given a 10-game suspension for his hit on Darryl Boyce of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Players were happy to see — as head coach Brent Sutter called it — “the new way” from the league.
“It’s great,” left winger Alex Tanguay said. “He set the standard, explained why he did it and put in the parameters for the reasoning.
“It’s great for fans and it’s great for other players. As players, you want to know what you’re up against and what the guidelines are.
The next test for Shanahan is to be consistent when it’s a star player who commits an infraction.
“That’s all we can ask for, that role players and high-end skilled players are all judged fairly,” left winger Curtis Glencross said.
Leblond didn’t argue with the suspension’s length and said it was a lesson.
“The decision was made, and we’re going to respect it and learn from that,” he said. “In the future, we just have to be more careful.”
Flames who didn’t partake in Friday’s intra-squad game were RW Jarome Iginla (back), D Cory Sarich (pelvis), D Brett Carson (back), LW Raitis Ivanans (post-concussion), C Brendan Morrison (knee) and RW Tim Jackman (groin).