Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom was assessed a match penalty for his cross-check of Boston Bruins forward Rich Peverley at the end of the Caps 4-3 loss in Game Three Monday night. Tuesday evening, NHL discipline czar Brendan Shanahan upheld the automatic suspension that came with the match penalty; Backstrom must miss Thursday’s Game Four, putting the Capitals behind the eight-ball for what could be the pivotal game of the series.
Today, the Caps took a slightly strange – but bold — step nonetheless and issued a press release on Backstrom’s suspension:
We disagree with the NHL’s decision to suspend Nicklas Backstrom. This has been a competitive and physical series, and we do not understand why a suspension was imposed in this case while other incidents in this series have not been reviewed. Our singular focus now is on Game 4, and we look forward to the energy that our great fans provide.
The statement is carefully worded to avoid further discipline or fine by the league offices, but the message is clear: “We’re not happy with the way this series is being officiated.” [Read more...]