Update, 11:09 p.m.: NHL suspends Backstrom one game
Updated, 2 p.m.: Bruins Coach Claude Julien said the NHL needs to review the cross check administered by Nicklas Backstrom on Rich Peverly at the end of Game 3, play but stopped short of calling for additional punishment for the Capitals center.
“The league needs to look at it and judge it from there,” Julien said Tuesday morning. “We’re not a team that will go down and start rolling on the ice for no reason. I’m proud of Pev for standing up on his feet, taking a cross check to his face and not embellishing.”
The NHL scheduled a disciplinary hearing for Backstrom Tuesday afternoon.
Because Backstrom received a match penalty for the cross check, he’s subject to an automatic one game suspension pending a review by Brendan Shanahan, the league’s director of player safety. It’s possible Shanahan will rescind the penalty and mandatory ban, but he could also levy further punishment against Backstrom.
While Backstrom’s punishment remains to be determined, this much is clear: The Bruins were not impressed with his stick-work. The Capitals’ star was whistled three times for cross checking infractions Monday. In all, Backstrom was assessed a career-high 16 penalty minutes.
“I’m not really sure why somebody does that,” Boston’s defenseman Andrew Ference said about Backstrom’s cross check on Peverley. “I played most of the game against Backstrom. It’s not like he received any huge hits or anything like that. I don’t think the game crossed the line up until that. Obviously, it was in the face. It doesn’t feel that good.”
Defenseman Greg Zanon added: “It was high. He definitely hit him in the face. It’s not the first time this series somebody has taken a cross check to the face.”
Julien, Ference and Zanon spoke before Capitals Coach Dale Hunter accused the Bruins of targeting Backstrom’s head. Backstrom missed 40 games this season because of a concussion.
Whatever the league rules, the Bruins said they won’t let it “distract” them.
“We all have jobs to do,” Julien said, “and you let the people responsible for that to make those kinds of decisions. We’re going to keep moving forward and we’re going stay focused on our series and nothing from the decision is going to distract us from that.”
Zanon added: “It’s up to the league. We’ll prepare for Game 4 whether he’s in the lineup or out of the lineup.”
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