According to NHL.com, Washington Capitals Enforcer Donald Brashear will be suspended for 6 games following the club’s game 6 victory over the New York Rangers.
Brashear lost one game for his pre-game contact with Rangers tough guy Colton Orr, and the other five stem from his viscious hit on Blair Betts, which resulted in a broken orbital bone and subsequent and indefinite loss of the Rangers best penalty killer.
This from the league’s disciplinarian,:
“Brashear delivered a shoulder hit to an unsuspecting player. It is also my opinion that the hit was delivered late and targeted the head of his opponent, causing significant injury.”
I personally disagree. It appeared to me that the injury came from Betts’ head hitting the ice, not anything Brashear did to him. It was an open ice hit that was clean. An argument could be made that it was interference as Betts was off the puck, but the refs on-ice didn’t even think it warranted a two minute minor.
This seems like over-reaction due to the pre-game incident, the visciousness of the hit, and the subsequent injury sustained by the player in question.
I hope Betts recovers well, and I wish that he would have remained on the ice for the remainder of the series, as I always perfer to see my team face another team at their best, and the loss of Betts is a tough pill to swallow for the Blueshirts. That being said, I don’t think the NHL made the right call in this instance.
As reported previously, Chris Clark is the likely beneficiary of the newly available ice time, with Michael Nylander holding an outside chance at getting the nod.