Mike Green received a three-game suspension for his hit to the head of Tampa Bay forward Brett Connolly in the second period of the Capitals’ 3-2 overtime win on Thursday night. The play was ruled an illegal hit to the head by the NHL’s department of player safety.
Green, who has missed the bulk of this season because of injuries, won’t be eligible to return to the lineup until March 16 at Winnipeg. He will miss back-to-back games this weekend at Boston and against Toronto as well as a road game at the New York Islanders on Mar. 13. It will cost him $ 85,135.14 in fines.
Brendan Shanahan, the NHL’s vice president of player safety, announced the suspension and explained that Green “raises and drives his left arm into Connolly’s head with significant force, making it the principal point of contact and causing it to impact the glass.”
Shanahan went on to address Connolly’s positioning, crouched low on the boards as he engaged in a puck battle with defenseman Dmitry Orlov prior to Green’s hit.
“While it’s true that Connolly is in a bent-over position as a result of trying to avoid Orlov’s check, Connolly does not put himself in this position just prior to or simultaneously with Green’s hit,” Shanahan said. “In fact, when Green decides to commit to this check, Connolly is already bent over. Green sees Connolly in this position, he then slows down, waits, loads up and targets Connolly’s head, making it the principal point of contact.”
Shanahan said he weighed Green’s previous suspension — a three-game ban in January 2010 for an elbow to the head of then-Florida forward Michael Frolik — and the fact that Connolly was not injured on the play when determining the length of this punishment.
The play did not result in a penalty during the game and Connolly did return to the contest, playing an additional 3 minutes 44 seconds of ice time after the hit.
Check out Shanahan’s full explanation video below.