Who here said he was an enforcer? Nobody.
The fact that teams can start phasing out "enforcers" who's sole job was to beat the s*** out of players like Wisniewski (sp?). Now those type of players are being punished on an entirely new level and costing them their careers. If Wiz comes back and pulls this same stunt again, his next suspension could be a year off without pay + fines... perhaps bankrupting said player. Shanahan is making a statement.
Players can still fight without dressing 'enforcers'. More skilled players will play instead of unskilled goons. That's progress and the direction the new NHL is (and should) go. Who wants to see star players careers end short by retards who can't play hockey or by dirty players?
The fact is, GMs won't need to blow money and roster spots on Downie type players anymore because Shanahan is taking out the Ruutu's and Cooke type players antics out of the game. If these players cost their teams (Wiz sitting in the press box instead of playing hockey is hurting his team) GMs are going to avoid signing those type of players in the future because they are more of a liability than their worth.
This is the direction the new NHL is going and it's brilliant on Shanahan's part to start enforcing this. Hockey just got better!
I highly doubt it.
Wisniewski is a guy that can score a lot of points from the blueline. He's overpaid, but guys like him will always have a place in the game because he's a good player. Downie is an ******* and a dirty player, but he spent time on Tampa's top 2 lines last season, and put up good numbers. Cooke is a well liked guy in the Pens lockerroom. These players will always be around whether they get suspended a lot or not, because they are important to the team when in the lineup.
As for pure enforcers, they'll be around as long as fighting is allowed in hockey and as long as they're paid cheaply. I want the NHL to be more physical than their European hockey counterparts. That's one of the things that makes me love hockey. I like seeing pure goons fight. What I don't like is people like Ruutu, Cooke, Tootoo, etc. but those players won't ever disappear as long as they can contribute something else to their team. Now a guy like Shelley, I don't mind seeing get punished, because he's a pure goon but he's also a dirty player who has no business being out there.
What I really want to see is an elimination of both the instigator rule and the suspension for instigating at the end of games. Then maybe Wisniewski would have challenged Clutterbuck and not tried to take his head off. I think the instigator has resulted in many injuries that could have possibly been avoided. Of course you can still get injured in a fight, but when a guy is blindsided to the head, he has no chance of defending himself.