Shanahan cracking down on NHL rule breakers

By DAN GELSTON | October 5, 2011 | 3:35 PM EDT

FILE - This Nov. 9, 2010 file photo shows NHL vice president Brendan Shanahan speaking to reporters during the annual fall meeting of the hockey league's general managers, in Toronto. Choosing not to follow the lead of the many minor and youth leagues that have banned all hits to the head, the NHL is instead cracking down on them case-by-case. New discipline czar Brendan Shanahan, only three years removed from his playing days, has been suspending players for the most egregious hits, and the message appears to be getting through. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Darren Calabrese, File)

Brendan Shanahan is busy as the NHL's head disciplinarian.

The stern-faced spokesman for the NHL rulebook, Shanahan has suspended a whopping nine players this preseason for a total of 31 regular-season games.

Shanahan is not out to create a kindler, gentler NHL. Just a safer one.

On the eve of the NHL season, he has swiftly made his mark as a discipline czar who wants to protect the best interests of the sport he loves and respects. Taking over for Colin Campbell, Shanahan already has revolutionized the job and created a more transparent process, complete with videotaped explanations on YouTube that allow players, fans and media to better understand his decisions.