The Capitals had a day off today one day after falling 4-3 to the Boston Bruins and are now down two games to one in the series, but there was still plenty to talk about.
Caps center Nicklas Backstrom could be suspended for game four after getting a match penalty after the final horn had sounded. Backstrom cross-checked Rich Peverley towards his face and hit Peverley in the shield. A match penalty automatically comes with a one game suspension until the NHL can rule on the issue.
“I don’t think he’s going to be suspended,” Capitals Head Coach Dale Hunter said. “If you slow it down frame by frame, where was [Lucic’s] stick? It was up in his face first. Re-watch it again, where his stick’s up in his face, and Nicky because of the stick in his face, that the guy put his stick up like that and Nicky reacted to it.”
Hunter added, “I think he [Backstrom] was just trying to protect his face.”
Nicklas Backstrom missed 40 games due to a concussion earlier this season, last night was only his seventh game back, and when Hunter was asked if he thought the Bruins were trying to target Backstrom’s head, he said, “Oh yeah”.
“Every scrum Nicky comes out with no helmet on,” Hunter said on Backstrom. “He get’s blocker to the head by [Tim] Thomas the game before. So he’s protecting his head, he just came off of 40 games. You have to protect your head.”
Hunter said the Caps haven’t heard from the league yet on any possible punishment.
TSN’s Bob McKenzie says the Capitals have been told that Nicklas Backstrom will have a disciplinary hearing with the NHL, probably tomorrow.
One side note: Goalie Tomas Vokoun skated for approximately 20 minutes today with full pads on, but didn’t take any shots. Nobody else skated.
Listen here to the whole Dale Hunter press conference from today.
Dale Hunter Press Conference