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It’s official: Nicklas Backstrom suspended for Game 4

Apr 17, 2012, 10:59 PM EDT

Nicklas Backstrom AP

Attribute it to Craig Adams‘ instigator turning into a one-game suspension or any number of other factors, but either way, Nicklas Backstrom will sit one game himself. The NHL has the right to rescind a late-game match penalty that would hand Backstrom an automatic suspension, but they opted not to. Here is Brendan Shanahan’s explanation:

Health permitting, Backstrom is generally regarded as the Capitals’ best player after Alex Ovechkin. He scored Washington’s overtime winner in Game 2, so he’ll be missed even in his current (possibly not 100 percent) state.

The Capitals have spent long spans without Backstrom during this season,  but this might be their biggest test so far. They could very well find themselves in a 3-1 hole by the time he’s available again.

  1. Stiller43 - Apr 17, 2012 at 11:04 PM

    He cross checked a guy in the face! Wtf would they not enforce it?

    • rfoster75 - Apr 18, 2012 at 8:18 AM

      According to Peverly, he only tried to cross check him in the face??? Match penalty a bit excessive if that’s the case…that wtf they shouldn’t enforce it.

    • tonyromoisterrible - Apr 19, 2012 at 6:15 PM

      You missed the punches thrown by Chara, and Lucic I suppose. Bruin fans/NE fans are the biggest dopes in the world. You all are also the most classless fans on earth. Had this happened to my team and it were reversed…….I would come out and say that Backstrom was defending himself because my a-hole goal tender went after his head, Lucic has gone after his head, Chara has gone after his head, and he missed 40 games with concussions. I hope Erskine give Chara or Lucic a concussion or brakes a jaw this evening. Bruins=scumbags!

      • Stiller43 - May 7, 2012 at 9:53 PM

        I agree, NE fans are terrible.

        Good thing I’m a Steeler/Pens/Buccos fan.

        And defending yourself or not, cross check a guy in the face, you deserve to be suspended. I outright said Neal and Asham should have been suspended for their actions, whether they were justified or not (they werent)

  2. ravenscaps48 - Apr 17, 2012 at 11:16 PM

    So James Neal had 2 Disciplinary Meetings for 2 Headshots and a 1 Game Suspension… Nicklas Backstrom tried to Cross Check Rich Peverley in the Face, had it blocked, and grazed his chest, and he gets a 1 Game Suspension…. Brendan Shanahan… You continue to AMAZE us all!

    • hockeyflow33 - Apr 18, 2012 at 12:04 AM

      Not really, hockey is a physical game and the rules are rarely black and white. I highly doubt many of you have ever officiated a game, let alone read an actual NHL rule book.

      • bethgoesglobal - Apr 18, 2012 at 1:36 AM

        Why? Have you officiated any NHL games recently?

        Besides- these are just people’s Opinions!!

      • fullbagg - Apr 18, 2012 at 8:10 AM

        LOLOLOL! Never officiated a baseball game but can see a pitch straight down the middle called a ball! Oh yeah! I never played a hockey game so I guess I don’t know what I’m talking about again.

        Hey, I print money! Guess no one else can comment on money either.

        Only an idiot would say these rulings are not inconsistent. Idiot.

      • hockeyflow33 - Apr 18, 2012 at 9:28 AM

        There isn’t a black and white way way to rule on these consistently because there are so many variables involved with each situation. To act like this is easy is foolish.

    • rdurk86 - Apr 18, 2012 at 8:42 AM

      If by “grazed his chest” you mean “hit his visor” then I agree.

    • dropthepuckeh - Apr 18, 2012 at 10:51 AM

      He cross checked him in the head – how do you not understand that is a suspension? If someone does that to Backstrom he might be done for his career – why would it be okay for him to do it to anyone else? As a concussion sufferer surely he understands what a stick to the head, regardless of whether it hits the face or helmet, can do to a person. I understand that a lot of these European and Russian players do not fight but using a stick recklessly like this is extremely dangerous and cowardly. Either you don’t play that way or you have to be accountable, to the league or to the code which says you drop the gloves and fight fair. Obviously he is not going to fight which is his choice but he can’t hadveit both ways.

      Before caps247 and dcguy soil their panties, nobody targeted Backstrom’s head. If a face wash is a penalty than every player in the NHL is guilty including all of the Caps after the whistle. It is the Caps who are using their sticks and grabbing people’s heads from behind in an attempt not to have to fight and to have numbers on the tougher opponent. If they want to fight I guarantee you the Bruins will be willing but don’t pull this crap if you aren’t going to back it up or be accountable to the league.

    • tonyromoisterrible - Apr 19, 2012 at 6:17 PM

      Shanahan is on a directive straight from Bettman to keep his darling teams in the cup this year. Thats why this suspension happened, and Shanny acted so dramatic about a cross check that didn’t even land at its intended spot. Complete BS

  3. icelovinbrotha215 - Apr 17, 2012 at 11:24 PM

    Not surprising.

  4. crusty14 - Apr 17, 2012 at 11:28 PM

    I think you’re downplaying it there a little ravens… So it’s ok to cross check a guy in the face? If you watch the replay backstroms stick clearly hits Peverly in the face and knocks his helmet back (almost off).

    I haven’t agreed with shanny on a number of these things lately, but he took the easy out. On ice official called it a match penalty. A match penalty automatically gets at least a one game suspension. Period.

  5. fanisy - Apr 17, 2012 at 11:52 PM

    Honestly, as a Bruins fan, you don’t like seeing the best players off the ice. Even if I think it was dick move, I think at the very most he should’ve been fined and sent off with a warning.
    Also, is it me, or does Shanaban look like he absolutely hates his job right now?

    • bear654 - Apr 18, 2012 at 1:13 AM

      Agreed. Thought this was $2500 at most. Peverly’s shoulder deflected Backstrom’s stick up. Deserved a Penalty for sure, but a playoff game is a bit much. Shanny seems to be trying to take the temperature of each game as he hands out these rulings. Hard to do if you aren’t in the building, even if you do have 1500+ games played. Either way, this has been a great series and it’s fun to see some animosity. Oh yeah, GO B’S!

    • tonyromoisterrible - Apr 19, 2012 at 6:18 PM

      Wow! a reasonable Bruin fan. I applaud you lone wolf.

  6. bcjim - Apr 17, 2012 at 11:56 PM

    NB tried to crosscheck him in the body. It was deflected up and grazed, at best, the forehead. 1 game.

    Neal, 2 incidents of acting like a crazed fool in 5 minutes, only one game.

    Weber, wwe move, a few bucks?

    Should have been..NB Fine…Neal…3 games…Weber….3 games

    • gulbickus - Apr 18, 2012 at 12:05 AM

      C’mon man…have you even watched the video? No way Backstrom “tried to crosscheck him in the body.” He went for the head and he hit the head. Try to be a little more objective

      • tonyromoisterrible - Apr 19, 2012 at 6:21 PM

        AN unreasonable Bruin fan. Your a douche!

    • hockeyflow33 - Apr 18, 2012 at 12:07 AM

      Well maybe you should stop posting on message boards and submit your resume. Shanny clearly disagrees with your assessments and his decision was also based upon reviewing the facts with both interested parties while yours is based off of watching the game, listening to postgame and sports radio.

      Guess the more valuable opinion?

      • bethgoesglobal - Apr 18, 2012 at 1:33 AM

        hockeyflow33- chill out.

        For arguments sake let’s just say that you have played hockey for years and know all the rules inside-out; my guess is your opinions of this situation are based on the same information as everyone else on here.
        (or were you on the ice for that game?)

      • hockeyflow33 - Apr 18, 2012 at 9:26 AM

        I didn’t give an opinion. Shanny is basing his off many other things besides what just happened on the ice, most of which we don’t have access to.

      • bcjim - Apr 18, 2012 at 9:56 AM

        Like what, Backstroms long history of goonery? Get real.

      • tonyromoisterrible - Apr 19, 2012 at 6:21 PM

        AN unreasonable Bruin fan. Your a douche!

      • hockeyflow33 - Apr 19, 2012 at 8:08 PM


        What you mean to use is you’re, which is contraction for “you are”.

  7. cspsrbums - Apr 18, 2012 at 12:04 AM

    Weber can grab a head lock and smash a guys head into the glass and the official doesn’t give him a match penalty. How is it that the officials in all of the playoffs game are so inconsistent with horrible calls NHL need to get control of the official before they tank this league

  8. kantnockdahustle89 - Apr 18, 2012 at 12:46 AM

    These suspensions are a huge joke. I can see why Backstrom would get a 1 game suspension based on the rules but the NHL can rescind them if they want. It happened to Malkin.

    More importantly how does Neal get 1 game for clearly going after peoples heads well after they didn’t have the puck? Thats the one that makes no sense to me.

    Also in defense of Backstrom when he turned to face Peverly, Peverlys stick was right in his face. After getting taken down by the head earlier the game I think he had a right to be defensive about his own skull.

  9. capsfan19 - Apr 18, 2012 at 1:16 AM

    Oooooh ok. So no instigator penalty for lucic? I was at the game, lucic threw off the gloves and was going after whoever he could. Hmmm i wonder what the penatly for that shouldve been.

    Let’s think…marchand diving twice ref seeing him fall, and then miraculously getting up. Is this soccer? Apparently to him it must me. Looked almost as dumb as ryan keslers antics.

    What about lucic’s hit on laich. Center ice, clearly no puck around, ref was right there watching. Penalty for that? Nothing.

    What do the caps do in response? Stick checks, yes a pain in the arse but after this inconsistent and rediculous garbage you call “bruins” hockey i would say you had it comin.

    Im sorry we don’t have two mutants that claude julien feeds steriod filled steaks to. So caps getting physical may not be the same but if you’re going to slap a suspension on a guy who really has never had a run in like this and not at least have anything to say about milan mutant lucic then its garbage.

    Go ahead, im sure someone will say “oh well, uhhh caps did this” well maybe if the bean filled bruins didnt play like malicious animals and get away with murder itd be different. It doesnt help that you have fans from other teams saying the same thing.

    And cue the ohh well dale hunter this… Look that was in a different freaking age where that stuff was more acceptable and easier to integrate into the game. Call me crazy but the things the pens and b’a are getting away with is absurd.

    • bearcountry17 - Apr 18, 2012 at 2:03 AM

      Oooooh ok. No third man in for Alzner?

      Lets think… Caps have more than one player that dives so it kinda balances that out.

      What about Ovechkin’s crosscheck to Seidenbeg’s face? Chimera’s spear on Marchand, Ovechkin’s spear on Peverly, Beagles Crosscheck to Krejci

      What do the B’s do in responce? continue playing tough bruins playoff hockey and taking the lead in the series

  10. capsfan19 - Apr 18, 2012 at 3:35 AM

    By crosscheck you mean just hit on the back or rail the player? And in terms of diving thats semin’s specialty if anything. You cant help it when you play a team where everyone is from the MONSTARS (space jam reference).

  11. 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Apr 18, 2012 at 4:22 AM

    “His late cross-check was worse than Dale Hunter thought.”

    Interesting, because if anybody knows about cross-checks to the face it’s Dale Hunter.

    • tonyromoisterrible - Apr 19, 2012 at 6:50 PM

      Response is spelled as such.
      You sir, are an idiot. Everything you named pales in comparison to Lucic taking Laich’s legs out during a puck drop, Lucic’s third man in penalty, all of the marchand antics and taunting. The bruins and their fans are classless, and we will see who wins in the end. Hope boston gets big dig crumbles.

  12. caps247 - Apr 18, 2012 at 6:27 AM

    Yeah I like how Nick B gets 1 game for cross-checking, despite having his helmet torn off his head after every scrum. Milan Lucic is also a dirty punk, getting away with everything.
    And why did Weber only get fined for cracking somebody’s helmet and potentially injuring them? NHL just hates the caps remember when Shanny suspended Ovie for 3 games during regular season for leaving his skates to hit a Pen? He wasn’t close to being injured by that hit but he got 3 games for it. I think Backstrom was more close to being injured for the B’s grabbing his helmet and shaking him around, and of course they don’t get called for anything.

    Just saying, I think something’s up with not only this playoff series, but the playoffs in general.

  13. caps247 - Apr 18, 2012 at 6:51 AM

    I don’t know… Besides, the Caps went 3-1 during regulation without Backstrom (or Ovechkin), but only 3 were vs. Tim Thomas (including 1 shootout win), 1 vs. Tukka Rask, who Wont even be playing. This will be very interesting…

  14. dcfan4life - Apr 18, 2012 at 7:49 AM

    This suspension is a joke. All you morons keep asking if people have seen the video of Backstrohms cheap shot. Why not ask if you saw the game??? The Bruins went after Backstrohm, clearly targeting his head. Lucic specifically ripped off his helmet and would have thrown a punch at him had he not been held. Shanahan is a joke. This suspension is a joke. And anyone who watched that game knows it.

    • pepper2011 - Apr 18, 2012 at 8:51 AM

      That’s just not true. The Bruins have not been targeting his head. What happens in these scrums; which both teams have been involved in; has been the same as it has with every other player and every other team. They face wash, they punch, they cross check, they slash and jab. If you have REALLY watched the series; you would notice the Caps are the one who are crossing the line. Backstrom got punched in the face once for hacking at Thomas about 5 times more than needed. No team is innocent, but to claim Boston is targeting his head is ridiculous. Bergeron has a history of concussions and he knows he’s gonna get hit; possibly in the head if he bats at the goalie relentlessly. Dale hunter is trying to make excuses; plain and simple. next scrum; watch how many guys lose their helmets or get hit in the head. Was Alzner targeting Lucic’s head when he attacked him from behind? was ovechkin targeting the head when he cross checked seidenberg in the face? If you watch the whole lucic/alzner play- Hendricks and lucic- two tough players are having a pissing contest- hendricks cross checks, lucic punches, hendricks punches- two guys not backing down- then alzner comes in for some reason. watch the game objectively – the Bruins initiate things no doubt, but there is a line that they generally don’t cross. The Caps have crossed it on at least 4 occasions (ovi cross check, NB cross check, chimera nut shot and Alzner going after lucic and losing him composure) lucic and hendricks probably would have fought if Alzner didn’t jump in and for the Caps it would have been a great 5 minute exchange.

      • gocaps8 - Apr 18, 2012 at 10:41 AM

        “Backstrom got punched in the face once for hacking at Thomas about 5 times more than needed.”

        More than needed? How about playing until the whistle? Of course he’s going to try to whack the puck loose until the whistle is blown. Or should Backstrom just skate away before the refs call the play dead? This happens in EVERY series and Thomas reacted like the soft and sensitive diva he is proving to be.

      • pepper2011 - Apr 18, 2012 at 11:48 AM

        The soft sensitive diva with his name on the cup, two vezinas and Conn smythe. You guys keep acting like the Backstrom is some innocent victim. Like I said; if Seguin came in that late and aggressive AFTER the whistle Holtby, Chimera and Laich would have done the same thing. Watch what the Bruins do when Holtby covers the puck next game- the hover and don’t hack away at him. It was after Semin had one hack and was cleared out, backstrom came in a few seconds later and took two very heavy slashes (not pokes)- I understand your frustration, but it would like a boston fan being upset that marchand gets a facewash just about every whistle. Backstrom brings certain things on himself. I understand he is playing hard but there is a line and he has been straddling it all series long.
        On top of that EVERY goalie protects their crease and are “sensitive”- Watch what campbell does here. ask yourself what would Holtby and the Caps have done if Campbell took two slashes because he was playing to the whistle

      • pepper2011 - Apr 18, 2012 at 12:02 PM

        For those who think the Bruins are targeting Backstroms head; let’s look at everyone in this video get their head grabbed. First Alzner grabs Bergeron’s head – who has lost more than twice as much career time to Concussions and has had at least 3; two of which were major. After that Backstrom grabs Bergeron’s head too. should Bergeron allow it? you can almost see Bergy telling him don’t grab my head if you dont’ want your head grabbed. Bergeron has about 20 PIMS a year to backstroms 40-50 PIMS

      • tonyromoisterrible - Apr 19, 2012 at 6:54 PM

        Really? Like when Thomas came nearly out of the crease and went after NB’s head? No penalty???? Are you F-ING kidding me? Talk about being objective??

  15. supafinger - Apr 18, 2012 at 8:04 AM

    In hindsight Backstrom should have just grabbed his head and slammed it into the glass a few times. That would have only cost him $2500. The NHL is so biased towards Canadian Superstar players and original 6 teams it is sickening. One set of rules for non original 6 teams and European players and one set for Canadians and original 6 teams. Shanahan is gutter trash.

  16. eggserino - Apr 18, 2012 at 9:01 AM

    Simple physics lesson, boys. Peverly’s stick is being held up in the air. When Backstrom goes to cross check him, Peverly uses his stick to block the cross check, causing Backstrom’s stick to slide up Peverly’s. At the point that Peverly’s stick becomes a lever too heavy for Peverly to continue exerting enough force to block the cross check, Backstrom’s stick makes contact.

    Backstrom had absolutely no intent to crosscheck Peverly in the face. It’s all about physics.

    btw- I’m a western conference fan. No skin in this one…

    • pepper2011 - Apr 18, 2012 at 9:43 AM

      That’s like saying; I didn’t mean to shot the guy I was aiming to his left, but he jumped in the way. It’s not simple physics because there are too many variables involved. Also – things in motion, stay in motion- there were four (or more) things in motion; peverley, Backstrom and their two sticks- under your it’s not NB’s fault, it’s peverley’s- you are asking Peverely tohave stood there motionless and let Backstrom hit him in the collar bone high chest area? it’s pretty much human instinct to protect your head area- Backstrom was also moving in an upward motion- remember – things in motion tend to stay in motion. The game was over and it was a loss of composure. He saw Peverley trip Ovi and the game had just ended – he was frustrated and he lost him composure. If that had happened in the 1st period and he got a 5 minute major/game for it. I bet he wouldn’t have received a game, but you can’t let that go unpunished. What would have happened if Peverley did it back and NB was out with a concussion?

    • bcjim - Apr 18, 2012 at 9:57 AM


  17. davidpcoelho - Apr 18, 2012 at 9:04 AM

    As a Caps fan, I don’t mind the suspension. It was the letter of the law and a dumb move by Nick.

    What I do mind is the highly inconsistent penalties and refing out there. It is ridiculous. How can one not think the playoffs are rigged when Neil gets 1 game for headhunting and yet Weber gets nothing for repeatedly smashing a guys head into the boards?

    The on-ice calling is terrible. I constantly see Ovi and Backstrom getting their heads hit with no call. It happens the other way around too because it has to.

    This “let them play” attitude is ruining the playoffs (see: Pens/Flyers). They are suppose to call penalties to avoid this shtuff…

  18. florida727 - Apr 18, 2012 at 9:34 AM

    Can’t wait to see what Shanahan decides regarding the a-hole that knocked out Hossa last night in the Blackhawks game.

  19. mjdkid100 - Apr 18, 2012 at 9:40 AM

    Are Caps fans even watching the same series? No one has targeted anyone’s head, EXCEPT the Caps. In a scrum because your helmet falls off when someone grabs you, doesnt mean youre gonna get a concussion morons. It would take something like a cross-check to the face or head.

    Bruins – Scrums, face washing, intimidation, pushing, the occasional jab punch in the middle of scrums. (basically the same thing every team does)

    Caps – 3 Horrible cross-checks to the head, 2 spears into the players groins. watch the video of Backstroms cross-check adn pause it at 15 seconds and see what Ovie did with no call. Ovie should haev been thrown out in Game 2 for his cross-check to the face.

    Watch the other series and see how some of the teams are acting. The Bruins are far from the worst.

  20. mjdkid100 - Apr 18, 2012 at 9:42 AM

    Oh and just because the Weber and Neal incident were handled horribly, doesnt mean Shanahan should mess up all the other disciplinary actions too.

  21. stangz11 - Apr 18, 2012 at 10:03 AM

    This is where the Shea Weber screwup comes back to bite them. The easy argument here is that Backstrom attempted to cross check Peverley in the face, but didn’t connect. Obviously it would’ve been OK if he had actually made contact with the guy by grabbing the back of his head and beating him against the glass until his helmet cracks open

  22. supafinger - Apr 18, 2012 at 10:12 AM

    You people need to stop comparing this Backstrom suspension to the Weber incident. There is one key difference between the two. One is a Canadian Olympic superstar and one is not.

  23. odj810 - Apr 18, 2012 at 10:36 AM

    I’m disappointed in the decision. I think it was a dirty play but a dirty play that happens all the time. I now believe the NHL realized how bad they screwed up initially and is not trying to make up for there previous mistakes to try to gain control. A fine and a warning yes and maybe you suspend him a game in the regular season( I doubt he would have been) but not in the playoffs. As a bruins fan I want the capitals best players on the ice. And if you look at it objectively and one of boston’s players did the same thing and got suspended I would not be happy. It’s dirty and cheap, theres no need for it but I don’t think its something that needs the league to make a statement that could potentially alter the integrity of the series.

  24. ntestarossa - Apr 18, 2012 at 11:45 AM

    Its nice to see some level-headed Caps fans out there. Clearly the rest of you need to take off the Homer glasses and calm down a bit.

    The game was over, Ovie checked Pev from behind, Pev turned and tripped who ever did the checking(did he know it was Ovechkin? doubt it sense it was a CHECK FROM BEHIND. and being at the end of the game, Pev turned to skate back to the bench and, like all players, put his stick up only to see backstrom coming in for a cross check.

    In the matter of seconds this all happened. For those of you who say that Pev put his stick up so naturally NB had to go up, are ridiculous and classless homers. I like the Capitols and like all teams they have their delusional fans. But its clear what the intent was and Caps need to stick to their game 1 and 2 game plans if they want a shot at winning, because cheap shots will always backfire.

    GO BRUINS!!!

    p.s. game should be on tonight..poor NHL scheduling.

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