SAN JOSE – Sharks defenseman Brad Stuart was suspended for three games on Wednesday for what the NHL deemed an illegal check to the head of the Rangers’ Rick Nash on Tuesday night.
Stuart will miss the Sharks’ game in Vancouver on Thursday, a home game against Ottawa on Saturday, and the Sharks-Blues games in St. Louis next Tuesday, Oct. 15.
Stuart was assessed an elbowing penalty when he hit Nash along the boards at 2:32 of the first period. Nash stayed in the game for the remainder of the first period, but did not return to start the second. He missed four games with a suspected concussion last February after a hit from Boston’s Milan Lucic.
Stuart was making his season debut after not playing in a single preseason game with a lower body injury, and had a phone hearing with the league on Wednesday afternoon. Just prior to the hearing, he gave his perspective of the hit, in which he was assessed a minor for elbowing early in the first period of the Sharks’ 9-2 win.
[REWIND: Stuart could face punishment]
“I just stepped up and hit the guy. I saw the replay. I didn’t leave my feet, I didn’t target the head. It depends on how they look at it, I guess. Apparently he has a concussion, so we’ll see,” Stuart said.
“I got an elbowing penalty, and you can clearly see my elbow is down. In the videos it appears as though I hit his shoulder, and that was the main point of contact.”
Arguably the Sharks’ hardest hitter, Stuart said he was looking to have a quick impact in his first game. The penalty came on the 33-year-old’s second shift.
“I was just looking to get involved physically,” Stuart said. “Like I said, I didn’t charge, leave my feet, and I wasn’t running around or anything. But, yeah, you’re looking to get yourself involved in the game, for sure.”
Scott Hannan, who sat on Tuesday to make room for Stuart, will presumably be re-inserted back in to the lineup on Thursday night in Vancouver.