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NHL suspends Brad Stuart three games for hit to Rick Nash’s head

Oct 9, 2013, 8:51 PM EDT

The NHL decided to hand San Jose Sharks defenseman Brad Stuart a three-game suspension on Wednesday for a high hit on New York Rangers star winger Rick Nash from Tuesday.

Here’s the explanation video:

Shanahan’s description implies that the league has few problems with the hit, but drills him because there was contact to the head, Stuart seemingly angled upward to deliver the hit and Nash was injured.

OK, let’s face it; a huge part of the motivation was that Nash was the target. He’s been a huge asset for the Rangers and missed four games last season because of a concussion.

Stuart will be eligible to return to action for an Oct. 17 road game against the Dallas Stars. The suspension costs the 33-year-old blueliner $55,384.62.

This isn’t the first suspension of Stuart’s career, but it’s been long enough that he isn’t considered a repeat offender by the NHL’s standards. That doesn’t mean he’s been shy about delivering huge checks, though.

  1. 7mantel - Oct 9, 2013 at 8:55 PM

    Good call ! Def a elbow ! Uncalled for cheap shot !

    • hockeydon10 - Oct 10, 2013 at 9:12 AM

      Video watching fail.

    • imleftcoast - Oct 10, 2013 at 2:04 PM

      Anyone who hasn’t watched the Frontline on the NFL’s concussion issues really should. The NHL will go bankrupt paying out after years of ignoring the issue.

  2. sjtorpitt - Oct 9, 2013 at 8:56 PM

    Cheap shot? Lol, guy.
    Fine with the susp., I just wish Shanny were more consistent.

  3. Stiller43 - Oct 9, 2013 at 9:04 PM

    I call shanahanigans…

  4. sjsharks66 - Oct 9, 2013 at 9:07 PM

    First suspension and gets 3 games for an incidental contact? I guess the jersey number of the player receiving the hit had a lot to do with it.

  5. joey4id - Oct 9, 2013 at 9:08 PM

    Why didn’t Stuart just put his shoulder into the chest of Nash as opposed to elevating? We need to teach young kids to drive their shoulders into the chest. Hopefully by the time they are pros they will have learned to avoid the head.

    • stakex - Oct 10, 2013 at 12:41 AM

      Stuart is a 33 year old with 15 years of NHL experience… I think he knows how to throw a check. Sometimes things just happen when playing a sport as fast as hockey.

      • joey4id - Oct 10, 2013 at 10:28 AM

        When it comes to concussions, and this particular hit, a comment as “Sometimes things just happen when playing a sport as fast as hockey” is an immature response. Stuart was is in complete control of his momentum and aware of his surroundings. This was not an accidental collision between two players who didn’t see each other. If it were, then yes, “Sometimes things just happen when playing a sport as fast as hockey”.

  6. 7mantel - Oct 9, 2013 at 9:11 PM

    Deliberately comes up to head with elbow from blind spot = cheap shot . ButI do agree Shanny should be more consistent , then players would know for sure the punishment would fit the crime .

    • hubeydubeydoo11 - Oct 10, 2013 at 1:30 AM

      He hit with the shoulder…No were do i see an elbow hit nash in the face. it was head contact with the shoulder

      • hockeydon10 - Oct 10, 2013 at 9:13 AM

        Also could have added Shanny said it was the shoulder.

  7. bcisleman - Oct 9, 2013 at 9:21 PM

    By any reasonable definition, this was a clean. I’ve seen FAR worse that was not called much less suspended. Obviously this was about who was hit and his value to his team. This underlines the fact that we are headed toward international rules where all head hits are automatic suspensions.

    • sabatimus - Oct 9, 2013 at 9:54 PM

      No, it’s about the inconsistency-festival that is Brendan Shanahan.

    • atwatercrushesokoye - Oct 9, 2013 at 10:11 PM

      At least automatic suspensions for head hits would have some consistency, right now what we have is a system where 2 identical hits could lead to 2 different results suspension wise based on a couple of factors 1. Was it a star player who got hit? 2. Was the player who got hit injured? 3. Was the player who delivered the hit a star player? None of these should be factors, it should come down to: was the play an illegal act? If so here’s the discipline for the first offense, second offense etc. if you want to clean up the game you have to penalize the actions every time, regardless of the results…that will take head shots out of the game.

      • sabatimus - Oct 9, 2013 at 10:30 PM

        Exactly. None of these should be factors. I tend to think that the “star player” argument is fanbase-whining, but injury should have precisely NOTHING to do with it. You go in, you hit someone in the head intentionally, you get suspended; you do it again, double the suspension.

        An aside: all these Yzerman-types who want to ban fighting, guess what–the vast majority of fights are consensual, whereas situations like this one in particular are NEVER consensual.

      • lneighbors - Oct 10, 2013 at 6:13 PM

        don’t know if there’s such a thing as identical hits. The game’s too fluid, there’s too many variables. Shanahan has the thankless job of having to break each situation down second by second. I think his reasoning is pretty good actually.

    • press270 - Oct 9, 2013 at 10:32 PM

      Shanahan changes his judgement because the situation changes. Shanny doesn’t work alone. The league is worried about losing its high-skill, fan-popular (butts-in-seats is what it’s all about after all…NHL is an entertainment business) players to repeat concussions. Crosby, Nash, who’s next? If they don’t curtail high hits on popular players, all players in fact, they worry about erosion of skill. Pee wee Moms saying hockey is too dangerous for their sons to play. The beginning of the end (NFL has same problem, maybe worse).

      So, let’s cut Shanahan some slack. He, Stevie Y, had long careers, made lots of money, put fans in the Joe, as high-skill guys cause they didn’t take wild head whacks from journeyman players like Brad Stuart or Steve Downie….

      • sabatimus - Oct 9, 2013 at 10:40 PM

        I’m trying to figure out if you’re being facetious or not.

  8. chotime01 - Oct 9, 2013 at 9:23 PM

    This hit is no worse then the hit delivered to the head if Roman Josi from Downie the other night. Yet he gets fined an suspended. The NHL needs to stop showing favoritism to superstar players and big money market teams and start handing out the suspensions more consistently no matter what player is receiving the hit and no matter of what team they play for.

  9. schlitzy - Oct 9, 2013 at 9:33 PM

    too harsh of a suspension. I think 1 game would have been fair. it didn’t look like he was intentionally going for his head. and I’m a Rangers fan.

    • hubeydubeydoo11 - Oct 10, 2013 at 1:35 AM

      agree!

  10. ltcompton - Oct 9, 2013 at 9:39 PM

    I’m stunned that anyone could look at that hit and say it was clean, the real question is why the NHL isn’t getting more serious about these infractions. Stuart put Landeskog out for a month last year and arguably screwed his whole season as Landeskog hasn’t been the same since. It was a cheap shot by a guy who specializes in them. When you target a guys head, as Stuart clearly does in this case, you shoud automatically be gone for 10 games, if you do it again, you should be suspended 20 games. By my count this is Nash’s 6th career concussion, its not like the guys gets any special treatment, its kind of an irresponsible comment by Prohockeytalk to say something like that. Shame on you.

  11. blackandorangeforlife - Oct 9, 2013 at 9:44 PM

    He did extend a bit so i guess a game would be fair….3 is a stretch!

  12. sjtorpitt - Oct 9, 2013 at 9:51 PM

    Specializes? Yea, good one, guy.

  13. btlpper68 - Oct 9, 2013 at 9:59 PM

    Seen guys not get suspended for way less yea it’s an elbow but u just wana consistency

    • btlpper68 - Oct 9, 2013 at 10:00 PM

      Way more

    • hockeydon10 - Oct 10, 2013 at 9:18 AM

      Also, not an elbow, as it details in the video.

  14. hockeyflow33 - Oct 9, 2013 at 10:05 PM

    Complain whine, b itch.

    No one will ever be satisfied with one of his decisions.

  15. sporkov - Oct 9, 2013 at 10:48 PM

    Shanny actually makes sense for once. Now, if he and his department could keep this up we would be alright on the suspension front.

  16. President Charles Logan - Oct 10, 2013 at 12:31 AM

    Shanaban needs to be removed from his position as the league Sheriff , he’s a disgrace and an embarrassment to the sport.

  17. stakex - Oct 10, 2013 at 12:53 AM

    It amazes me how inconsistent, not Shanahan, but the fans are. It seems more and more people are unable to look past their own bias and see things from a level standpoint. Not one suspension goes by where people don’t complain and whine about it… and most of the time it seems people don’t even know why they are whining.

    This hit wasn’t clean. Its a textbook example of a hit in which a player unnecessarily extends upward and makes avoidable contact with an opponents head (that’s in the rulebook, as you know if you watched the video). There is no debate about that, its clear as day and doesn’t change because some other hit in some other game might not have been punished. We could have a reasonable debate over the length of the suspension, and the NHL really needs more firm guidelines when it comes to punishment…. but to argue this hit isn’t dirty/suspendable is to ignore what your eyes are telling you.

    • Lupy Nazty Philthy - Oct 10, 2013 at 3:06 PM

      This was a bad call. The rule says if the guy getting hit makes a sudden movement to make himself vulnerable, then it’s a clean hit. That’s exactly what happened.

      Stuart had Nash’s shoulder lined up for a hit, Nash shoots/passes the puck just before, moving his shoulder completely out of the way of the hit, completely exposing Nash’s head.

      Nothing “dirty” about it, just an unfortunate result from a pretty standard hockey play.

  18. rwaibel30 - Oct 10, 2013 at 8:20 AM

    You have got to be kidding me with this Shanahan….THIS IS HOCKEY!!!!!! He went to finish a check and his shoulder clipped his jaw. Clearly unintentional. If Nash is going to get a concussion every time that happens then maybe he shouldn’t be playing anymore. That was so soft.

    NHL, this is a joke.

  19. multiplemiggs - Oct 10, 2013 at 8:43 AM

    this league made a great comeback a few years ago and it sickwns me to see them throwing it all away year by year. Shanahan babys another ranger yet again. This job doesnt belong to a former players

  20. skr213 - Oct 10, 2013 at 12:47 PM

    Outlaw the hard-as-metal shoulder pad plates. Guys wouldn’t be so prone to throw their shoulders around if it gets dislocated when they land a monster hit.

  21. Lupy Nazty Philthy - Oct 10, 2013 at 2:54 PM

    Shanahan is so bad at this…

    Him saying Nash didn’t move in a significant way to make him more vulnerable to a head shot is just wrong. If Nash doesn’t turn and shoot at the last second, his shoulder would have been what absorbed the hit.

    Another clean hit gets punished.

  22. joey4id - Oct 10, 2013 at 3:09 PM

    “As contorted as the NHL’s arguments always are in terms of responding to concerns about fighting, I think they’re almost at the final point of contortion,” Dryden told the conference. He said the mounting evidence about the dangers of brain trauma that had led the NHL to legislate against checks to the head could soon lead the league to move more meaningfully against fighting.

    “How does one argue against the fact that a blow from the shoulder or a blow from the elbow to the head generates one result, and a blow from the fist doesn’t?” Dryden said.

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