The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

John Erskine faces disciplinary hearing for elbow (updated)

(Nick Wass/Associated Press)

Updated, Saturday Feb. 2 at 10:40 a.m.

Capitals defenseman John Erskine will have a supplemental discipline hearing with NHL Vice President of Player Safety Brendan Shanahan at 2 p.m. Saturday for hitting Flyers winger Wayne Simmonds in the head Friday night.

With 1 minute 51 seconds remaining in the first period of Washington’s 3-2 win over the Flyers, Erskine elbowed Simmonds in the head as both players pursued a loose puck along the left-wing boards in the Philadelphia zone.

No penalty was called on the play. Simmonds had a bloody nose and was able to head to the bench under his own power, but he never returned to the game.

Flyers General Manager Paul Holmgren said after the game that Simmonds has a “head injury” and “probably a little bit of whiplash” but that he would be reevaluated Saturday.

“When I saw it live I didn’t think [it was bad]: Two guys colliding going for the puck,” Holmgren said. “But then you see the replay. I don’t know why his elbow came up, but it looked like it did. And I don’t think John’s that kind of player, I don’t think he’s a dirty player.”

Erskine wasn’t made available for comment after the game and neither was Simmonds. Capitals Coach Adam Oates said he did not see the hit, but Flyers Coach Peter Laviolette certainly did.

“It looked dirty when I first saw it,” Laviolette said. “Tough hit.”

The NHL’s department of player safety reviews all questionable hits and it wouldn’t be surprising if Erskine faced a possible suspension for the elbow. Erskine has never been suspended in his NHL career, but had a questionable hit on Dallas defenseman Trevor Daley in November 2011.

On the ensuing faceoff Matt Hendricks fought Zac Rinaldo. Both forwards received five-minute majors for fighting and game misconduct penalties because the fisticuffs ensued before the puck had been dropped for the faceoff.

“They said they fought before the puck drop,” Oates said. “But when you watch the replay, I think they got tricked in a sense because the two centermen went like there was a draw – it was like a false start – he was kicking one of them out. But I think they reacted to the two centermen moving.”

Check out video of the play, via CSN Washington, below.