Shanabanned: Nicklas Backstrom Suspended One Game

Photo credit: Jim Wilt

Nicklas Backstrom has been suspended one game for a cross-check to the head of Rich Peverley in the third period of the Caps 4-3 loss to the Bruins this Monday. Backstrom received a match penalty for this cross-check at the time, which comes with an automatic one-game suspension pending review by the NHL front office.

Review it they did, and VP of Player Safety Brendan Shanahan has ruled that the suspension will stand. Backstrom will miss Game 4 on Thursday, the second of two home games in Washington DC. The Caps are currently down 2-1 to the Bruins for the series, and will have a chance to even the series, though that chance has just gotten significantly more difficult with arguably their best player sitting out.

You can watch Brendan Shanahan’s suspension video below the jump. Make sure there is nothing breakable nearby.

This was the fourth penalty of the night for Backstrom, who appeared to have to have been fed up with the Bruins apparent strategy of targeting his head.

“Every scrum, Nicky comes out with no helmet on, he gets blockered to the head by [Tim] Thomas the game before. He’s protecting his head,” Dale Hunter told WaPo’s Katie Carrera on Tuesday. “He’s got to protect himself. You get a second concussion you’re out a long time. If it wasn’t there, if the stick wasn’t in his face — Nicky Backstrom’s not that kind of player. He doesn’t just cross-check somebody in the face; he’s not like that. Because the stick was there he protected himself.”

Backstrom has missed 40 games with concussion this year, and will now miss one postseason game due to supplemental discipline.

  • holdon2hope

    Shanahan has his head up his ass!  

  • Poo Daniels

    like how Hunter stands up for Nick.  like how Nick stands up for Ovie.  too bad about the suspension, but the boys have to find a way to win

  • bailamos?

    That is stupid. And clueless.

  • Like I said in that post whenever, the NHL discipline system is gonna be a disaster until you can apply a formula to the incident to calculate the punishment. Right now, Neal’s headhunting shift with a stick into the back of the head an unaware post-concussion player whose bell got rung is equivalent to Nicky’s tough-guy posturing against the guy who tripped his captain.

  • CAPSfan

    My issue is with what has happened in the playoffs, he gets suspeneded and Weber gets a fine, really?!?!?!?

  • Ctombodys


  • Ana

    Six comments down? You guys are getting a bit slow on the draw!

  • Reed Larson

    like how Ovie stood up with Holtby at the end of game one

  • Rick

    For the love of God, put Ovechkin and Semin on the same line. 

  • liquid8d

    Rationally, I would say I get the suspension – even though looks to me it was a) a reaction to Peverley’s stick and b) possibly unintentional as it looked like he was going to cross check him to the chest, but the stick may have redirected it.. with all the other crap going on, it seems to me they are trying to get more consistent even though they aren’t there yet.

    I mean, they do have a formula:
    Was it intentional?
    Was the player hurt?
    Is it a repeat offender?

    I just don’t know that it is the correct formula.

    It’s pretty much the chicken or the egg argument – the Caps are certainly guilty of some cheap shots, but who cheap shot who first?

    I guess the positive here is that Nicky’s head is safe for one more game. I swear if I see another Bruin goes after his head in game 5, I will go beserk. They can pull the Dale Hunter card all they want, but I saw too many plays were his head was directly targeted either in scuffles or elsewhere on the ice.

    We need KNUBLE in this series.

  • Ctombodys

    I know Ill try to be quicker next time. I actually surprised Backstrom was suspended, Shanahan has made a mess of the playoffs. 

    Also, I have a question that you might be able to answer. Why does Ovechkin have a shaded visor, is he the only one in the NHL with that?  I dont know why, but it gets on my nerves.

    Thanks Ana

  • Jeremiah

    should start trolling shanahan, is worse than campbell. doubt a petition would work though. even zetterberg called him out on inconsistancy. if neal only gets one game for head hunting both giroux and couteir in two minute span and backstrom misses with crosscheck  and gets the same amount of games . i wouldn’t mind them recalling recker and king and  giving it back to the bruins

  • Bellka76

    This is outrageous. With all of the facts Shanahan is  providing the conclusion on Backstrom should be NOT to suspend and yet… I like how in Neal’s suspension video, he starts with Neal’s hit on Couturier and then he completely sweeps it under the rug, underplays the hit on Giroux (no aparent injury b.s.), mentions previous warnings and with all that suspends Neal for one game.  If Neal’s disciplinary action is adequate, then Backstrom deserves an apology, not a suspension.

  • Ana

    Cool guys wear sunglasses. 

  • Ctombodys

    cool guys should win cups before they wear sunglasses, but okay.

  • Ana

    To be honest though, I don’t know the answer to that, maybe another reader does! I know a lot of players are picky about eyewear that they’ve gotten used to, don’t feel comfortable transitioning to and from wearing visors, or different kinds of visors. Could just be something that he’s comfortable with to or that he personally prefers. 

  • Bellka76

    Fedorov used to have a shaded visor too…

  • Ctombodys

    he won a few cups, hes okay by me.

  • Ana

    Rats, is that a rule? I think I’m breaking it!

  • Kelli Greene

    I wonder what Shanahan will say when the Bruins finally succeed and crack Backstrom in the head and hurt him. They have been trying to hurt him the entire series. Eventually they will accomplish their goal. There were much worse things no being called all game.

  • ChocolateTown2ChocolateCity

    Start GAME 4 with ERSKINE, RECHLICZ, CHIMERA, HENDRICKS, AND BROWER. I will love you forever Hunter, McPhee, Leonsis!

  • Bellka76

    Well, he was a little older than Ovechkin when he retired…

  • Meowmix

     No way. If you are to put them on the same line then you have Chara and Seindenburg defending both Semind and Ovi. You want at least one of those guys to go up against the second defensive paring for Boston.

  • Ajlanders

    Feel free to use my poster idea at Thursday’s game.  

  • Daleigh02

    You are literally the biggest F**king idiot! You are a hy[ocrite and no wonder the officials are so terrible when you can’t even stay consistent WATCHING REPLAYS. Go f*cking DIE!

  • Strong cross-check to the head, three punches: 1 game suspension.
    Weak cross-check to the head, no punches: 1 game suspension.
    Let’s go Penguins?

  • Even Shanahan explains Backstrom was about to get a likely stick to the face. They came at each other in a mutual way. Is the criteria “attempt to injure”? Because it seems to me that a few of the Boston players (including Tim Thomas) have been “attempting to injure” Backstrom specifically targeting his head. Where are the suspensions for those infractions?

  • serpent

    Look, Shanahan is the mouthpiece here. He’s not bright enough to make the decisions on his own. The inconsistent nature of his calls is the result someone else’s wishes for the Cup result.I suspect Dale knows this, as do the other coaches and managers. Julien’s sanctimonious, aw, shucks interviews were swallowed, hook, line and sinker by the media . Someone wants Nicky out of the contests . It happened. The question now is, who is the next target? 

  • SO_CAL_Brat

     I would think the next target would be Brooks Laich. Wouldn’t he be moved up to first line? But knowing the way the Bruins operate it’ll likely be MoJo. Of course they’ll continue “Crashing the Net” which in the Bruinite world means cheap shots on Holtby.

  • SO_CAL_Brat

     #FreeKnuble #CrashtheNet

  • SO_CAL_Brat

     I believe there are a couple of reasons for the shaded visors.

    1) It can protect eyes from light/ice glare like sunglasses would

    2) Forwards like Ovie & Hossa believe it gives them an advantage because goalies/defensemen can’t see your eyes and anticipate your next move

    3) In Ovechkin’s case I’ve heard he thinks it’s cool looking (probably just a rumor)

    Not sure if it’ll ever catch on. Like visors in general I think it’s just a preference thing.

  • Zach

    So we follow the rulebook on the match penalty + suspension with Backstrom, but the rulebook doesn’t exist when Thomas smacked Backy in the head per “Rule 51.3 Match Penalty – If, in the judgment of the Referee, a goalkeeper uses his blocking glove to punch an opponent in the head or face in an attempt to or to deliberately injure an opponent, a match penalty must be assessed.”

  • Shanahan is so inconsistent on being inconsistent…..that is what baffles me….

  • Shanny

    Next time Backy just grab his head and slam into the glass. The we don’t mind that.

  • serpent

    Either Brooks or Braden. They’ve been at Ovie forever, but it’s hard to wreck a tank. I really think it will be Braden next. He’s going to need a lot of D protection.

  • serpent

    Good clip on Jasper’s Rink of Alan May and CSN’s clips  of hits on Nicky.

  • serpent

    It’s probably due to the time lag between infractions , him asking “What do I say?” and then repeating what he’s told .

  • Livia

    The Brutish Bruins will be all disorganization in game 4, since they won’t know whose head to target now, there being no obvious choice of a recently-recovered concussion sufferer.

  •  “I mean, they do have a formula:
    Was it intentional?Was the player hurt?Is it a repeat offender?

    I just don’t know that it is the correct formula.”

    I disagree … there’s no formula.  If they applied this formula (correctness aside) Weber would have been suspended, Neal would have gotten more games than Backstrom, and both Asham & Torres would never be allowed on the ice in an NHL game again.  They claim to have a formula to make Shanaban’s Folly appear to be based on something other than … ????  There’s no formula and no logic to any of this.  He’s going to lose his job after the travesty of this post-season.

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  • Cookie Monster

    They’ll go after Greenie.  Other teams have always targeted him (thanks Bylsma for admitting it on camera).   With his concussion history and former shoulder injuries he would be the easiest to injure and get out of the game.

  • Cookie Monster

    …and as he said years ago, so hot girls in the stands don’t know he’s looking at them.  😉

  • Ana

    Green has actually seems to have gotten much better at avoiding dangerous hits (knock on wood). Maybe someone worked with him, maybe it’s just protective instinct? Too bad there’s no amount of good skating that can prevent intentional, malicious after-the-whistle nonsense. 

  • Johnnymorte

    I can’t believe this, taking our number one center away from us for something that is paltry in comparison to all other incidents during this playoff that went unpunished.  They have lost the control and respect of the players, and are trying to make up for it with their callous decision making against our team.  A team that ranks in the bottom six in the league for penalty minutes.  You don’t get it?  Weber gets a reprieve because he was on Team Canada. Crosby gets nothing because he was on Team Canada.  Lucic is a Vancouver hometown boy.  The management of this league is a Canadian mafia.    

  • Livia

    It’s too bad Brendan Shanahan can’t admit publicly that he made a huge mistake by letting Shea Weber off with a fine for pounding Henrik Zetterberg’s head into the glass. Maybe then he could try to start fresh, instead of using Backie as an example of his new-found toughness.

    And speaking of the failure of the league to discipline Weber, if Nashville wins the Stanley Cup, it should be withdrawn immediately and given to their SC Finals opponent.

  • Poo Daniels

     Well, as much as I would like to make it all a conspiracy theory to predict the outcomes of the cup, I think that they are just trying to find some way to crack down on all the aggression going on in these games.  Now, that being said, I still find it unfair how the call went down. 

    BUT its a completely different thing to think that someone is pulling strings on the cup.  The Bruins already won the game anyway, and besides, Ovechkin and a Caps team would be much more nationally popular and better for the NHL than the Bruins winning again.  Think about it, Ovechkin is the Lebron of Hockey, and the NHL would love to have him on the center stage competing for the cup.  It would be a conspiracy if the Kings lost with their 3 game lead, or someone tried to get Phoenix players out because who cares about the Coyotes.  These are teams that dilute the national appeal of hockey.  The value that Ovechkin has added to the NHL is 10 times more than any of those Bruins clowns

  • Eddie

    Can someone cross-check Shanahan in the head? Maybe it’ll knock some sense and consistent   rule enforcement into him.

  • serpent

    I wouldn’t call it a conspiracy, either. This is the first season that national media attention has been so focused on the Cup run. It hurts to see so much mayhem being presented as “hockey”. I’m sure many potential fans are disgusted with the fierce fighting, blown calls and Shanahan’s nonsense. Heck, many long time fans are!
    There are plenty of blood and gore venues for people who care for that sort of thing. We do not need it on the ice. It was attempted in the 70’s . It didn’t work. It shouldn’t work now.

  • Adam

    Rediculous,  Backstrom was fed up with them trying to injure him. Not worthy of a suspension!!!

  • SO_CAL_Brat

     It looks like they were setting up a lot of D for Holts during game 3 in anticipation of it. At one point I recall 4 guys protecting #CAPS net. Sort of like a wall of protection between the goons & goalie.

    I don’t know how Ovie does it….I really don’t. He takes some crazy hits, punches/sticks to the face, tripped while going 1000 MPH and he just keeps going like nothing happened. DUDE is the ultimate RUSSIAN MACHINE!

  • Tinfoil Hat

    Just trying to make sure NBC gets it Boston-New York conference final matchup that it wants/paid for.

  • SO_CAL_Brat

     I disagree Serpent. I have friends more interested in hockey then ever before. I’ve had people at work stop and ask what’s going on with Flyers/Pens series or when their next game is. I’ve had people ask about CAPS/Bruins excitement. We talk sports all day long in our office but rarely do I get the chance to get into NHL conversations.

    American’s love fast, brutal, gritty sports. With the “pussification” (for a lack of better words) of the NFL spinning out of control these folks are looking for another sport to cling to. I think Shanahan’s nonsense is bringing negative self-righteous attention from people who don’t understand the sport.

    No I don’t think it’s ok to intentionally injure a player nor do I want to see head injuries that ruin lives BUT I want to see the fast, SELF-POLICING, gritty, no nonsense awesomeness that is the NHL. 

  • Nick

    Kopitar from LAK wears shaded visor too

  • Man, I hope everyone is as fed up about all this as it seems on the NHL article comment sections.  This is ruining the playoffs and making it seem more and more like everything is bought and paid for….  Sad.

  • Jfbuks

    Thomas punches Nick in the face, no call, Holtby shoves a bruin out of the crease, gets a roughing penalty. Laich pushes lucic for room in a faceoff, lucic slams him to the ice, they both get penalized!! Hey shanahan, how bout suspending the zebras!!! they have been screwing up some good games, but you probably want the bruins to win again so turn your brain back off!!!

  • bailamos?

    I tried my hand at the NHL Wheel of Justice ( to see what would I give Nicky, and this is what I got:

    Without turning on the playoffs mode, a paltry fine.

    After turning on the playoffs mode (aah that’s Shea Weber omgz), a paltry fine.

    Clearly Shanahan is not using his Wheel of Justice correctly. Fine him!


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  • Rhino40

    –More dives than The Hunt For Red October
    –More dives than an entire city full of cheap, trashy bars…
    –More dives than an old Esther Williams/Busby Berkley film…

    Ladies and Gentlemen, the Oscar goes to…(drumroll)

    Brad Marchand of the Boston Bruins!!

    I want to thank my family, teammates, coaches, my enormous beak-like nose and the entire Bruins organization for making it possible for me to win this award, as well as Gary Bettman and Brendan Shanahan at the NHL offices.  I want to thank Tim Thomas, whose courage of his convictions and self-sacrifice ensured that I would not be regarded as the biggest d-bag on the team.  Finally, I also want to express special thanks to my freakishly enormous, close personal friend Zdeno Chara: without his encouragement and support I would never have gotten away with half the bullshit moves I pulled on the ice…

  • Bradley Roth


    Never seen a site with so many posters crying.
    Going down for the count tonight with Backstrom out. 3-1 Bruins Hehe

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