Suspension or no suspension: Brad Stuart on Rick Nash

Rory Boylen
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San Jose’s Brad Stuart has a phone hearing with the NHL today, after a hit on Rick Nash last night. Nash left the game after only playing 5:53.

This is a bit of a rough shot of the hit, but it’s the best angle to show contact with the head. Suspension or no suspension?

Stuart doesn’t have a suspension history with the NHL, but certainly makes contact with the head. And it seems he had room to make principle contact with the shoulder, though Nash’s head position changes as he moved the puck up ice.

Stuart was assessed a minor penalty for elbowing on the play.

Nash sustained a concussion last season on a hit from Milan Lucic, which caused him to miss four games, so that makes his current situation all the more troubling.

Nash told the New York Post:

“It’s just a headache. I didn’t feel it (right away), it came later. I just didn’t feel right.

“It was a head shot. Any time there’s a head shot you’re concerned when you feel the way it feels. It’s not a good feeling.”

The Rangers, off to a 1-2-0 start, can ill-afford to be without their top scorer in what’s supposed to be a more offensive system under coach Alain Vigneault, though so far it hasn’t been very successful.

Nash has yet to score a goal, but has three assists in three games.

Here’s Brendan Shanahan on how the NHL decides on whether or not a play is worthy of a suspension:

The verdict will be in later today and it will be a tough call. On the one hand, Nash’s head changes position as he moves the puck up ice, but on the other, Stuart appears to make solid contact with his head. The Sharks defenseman isn’t a dirty player and we’ll bet didn’t intend to hit Nash’s head. But he did – and fairly cleanly. It was Stuart’s first game of the regular season, so his timing may be a bit off, but that’s not a reason to defer a suspension.

If it is a suspension, it won’t be a large one. But given Nash had to leave the game and that the principle point of contact appears to be with the head, we’ll be looking for a one or two game suspension for Stuart on this one.

San Jose won the game handily 9-2.