Brendan Shanahan was known equally for his grit and goal-scoring as a player, but the Toronto Maple Leafs president doesn’t quite see the game the way he used to.
“The way (today), I think, is not necessarily the way I played,” Shahanan said on the “SmartLess” podcast hosted by actors Jason Bateman, Sean Hayes, and Leafs fan Will Arnett.
“I know people get pissed off at me when I say stuff like this, but I don’t get excited to see a big hit. I get excited when I see a big goal … I don’t want to see any of these young guys on the ice getting carried off (on a stretcher). I don’t get off on it.”
Shanahan recorded 656 goals and 2,489 penalty minutes over 1,524 NHL games. He also racked up 90 career fights, according to hockeyfights.com.
The Hall of Fame forward believes fighting can still serve a purpose in the modern game, but the days of premeditated tilts are long gone.
“If I see a fight in hockey and it’s because someone was protecting somebody or somebody was bullying somebody and you’re addressing it. There’s probably still a place for that in hockey, but using it as a tool to intimidate or hurt, I don’t know, it’s going away from that.”
Prior to joining the Maple Leafs, Shanahan served as the league’s senior vice president and helped establish the NHL Department of Player Safety in 2011.