Troy Brouwer collided with New York’s Derek Stepan in the third period of Wednesday’s garbage fire. Brouwer hit Stepan in the head as he skated to the bench. My original assessment of the hit, on Twitter and in the game recap, was that the hit was dirty and Troy Brouwer should be suspended.

I’m not so sure now.

Brouwer is not looking at Stepan, and certainly not lining up for a charging hit. He does, however, jump at the last second– resulting in Stepan’s head taking the brunt of the hit. That’s unfortunate, but probably not malicious. I don’t know if the NHL can deem a hit reckless if it’s not deliberate. If they can, Brouwer is gonna miss a game or two. But in the court of public opinion, I’ve got to think Brouwer gets away with this one.

UPDATE: After the game, Troy Brouwer talked to Chris Gordon about the hit.

It was at the end of my shift. Green had the puck and was pulling it out of our zone. I was going for a change and it was a little incidental contact in the neutral zone. I’m glad to see he came back and wasn’t seriously hurt after it because those can be tough plays. I pride myself on being on honest player and tried to get out of the way without as much damage as possible.



What’s your take? Guilty or no? How many games?

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  • Priscilla

    Looked like he didn’t see him to the last second and tried to jump awkwardly out of the way.

  • FStreetFaithful

    Brouwer is going low speed, there’s no follow-through, and it clearly knocks Brouwer off balance. That leads me to see it as purely incidental. Stepan said after game he didn’t think it was dirty (although he said he hadn’t seen it). I can’t see a suspension coming, but it’s something he could have avoided if he was aware of his surroundings more.

  • Freedoooom

    Picture says it all, his legs look like he was surprised and his shoulders and arms are squeezed like he’s try to avoid.


    I hope the caps media doesn’t make this the focal point of tonight. FOCUS ON HOW BAD THIS TEAM IS! PLEASE! ASK OATES THE TOUGH QUESTIONS. Why is erat on the 4th line? Keep asking him!

  • Priscilla

    Actually I take that back. He saw him definitely but might have misjudged the speed and where he was going to make contact.

  • Jonathan Kenny

    I like Brouwer, but he is GUILTY in this case. It may not have been malicious but in instances like this, if the league wants to be serious about hits to the head, a suspension has to be levied. That said, Brouwer’s good record should be taken into account and I don’t think more than a one-game suspension is deserved.

    And if he is suspended, Oates will have to do at least some adjusting of the lines!

  • OlietheGoalie

    There’s no way he didn’t see him. He was staring right at him and then turned his head at the last second. I like the kid, but I find it hard to think grasp how he didn’t hit him on purpose.

  • Samir Ksara

    This is definitely an accident, if you look carefully, Stepan changes speed at the last second and stops skating backwards, Brouwer thought he could squeeze by him to the bench but ends up catching him on the head as Stepan slows down and leaps forward. That being said, intentional or not, Troy is still getting a suspension but ill be surprised if its more than one game

  • JohnDoe

    No way. Stephan cuts into the centre of the ice last second changing from vertical to lateral skating which appeared to surprise Brouwer forcing him to try and jump out of the way. Suspending Brouwer would undermine what the league is trying to do, eliminate reckless head shots. An accident should not be a suspend able act even if the end result is a hit to the head.

  • jmerk25

    It doesn’t look like Brouwer tried to check Stepan ruling out a suspension for an illegal check to the head. It can be argued that Brouwer could have killed him with a blind side hit like that if he wanted. End of the shift, guys tired, just trying to get to the bench fast, and the refs ruled it incidental contact. Brouwer will skate Saturday.

    Here’s the NHL’s rule:

    48.1 Illegal Check to the Head – A hit resulting in contact with an opponent’s head where the head is targeted and the principal point of contact is not permitted. However, in determining whether such a hit should have been permitted, the circumstances of the hit, including whether the opponent put himself in a vulnerable position immediately prior to or simultaneously with the hit or the head contact on an otherwise legal body check was avoidable, can be considered.

    Kinda has the incidental thing covered in there.

  • remrats

    I believe Brouwer saw him. But he was looking at the puck and judging that he’d skate right by Stepan. But as Samir said, Stepan not only changes speed but actually moves towards Brouwer. Unfortunate collision.

  • Over_head

    The fact that some people would actually call for a suspension on a play like this is surprising, though I suppose it should not be. I am glad the league is taking head injuries seriously, I am glad fans are concerned about, but this is clearly a situation in which Brouwer did not see Stepan, he did not intentionally hit him, his team was in possession of the puck and a hit in that situation would gain the Caps no advantage. Brouwer is going for a change, watch Stepan’s skates, he starts to cross over to adjust to the player (Backstrom?) cutting across the center of the ice at the blue line which causes him to change direction just enough for Brouwer to hit him. It is a fast sport, collisions are going to happen.

  • Glenn Gilbert

    Brouwer looks at Stepan. Looks at Green. As Brouwer looks at Green, Stepan slows down and hooks toward Brouwer. Stepan is coasting backwards and has his eyes on Green as well, so he doesn’t see Brouwer coming. It’s incidental contact.

  • CSA

    Sorry, absolutely nothing about that collision was intentional or worthy of a suspension. He was watching the puck and the line change. Anyone that’s played the game of hockey should know that, so why “hockey people” like NBCSN, etc. get all up in arms is ridiculous. It’s a contact sport that moves at an extremely fast pace, collisions like that are inevitable…..

    Besides if he does get suspended and Chimera is hurt maybe we can actually dig our four million man off the 4th freakin line.

  • Manny Fried

    As a Rangers fan, I do not believe that this hit was Dirty. I think Brouwer was just, as he said, going for a change and the incidental contact and attempt to get out of the way was accidental. I don’t personally see how Brouwer could have NOT seen Stepan but whatever. I have almost hit deer that are dead center of the road so I can’t really blame him. Still should be an interference call but it’s not a suspension or a hit to the head.

    As a few people here said, Stepan has to keep his head up there and not just coast backwards through the neutral zone when the play is occurring in that zone. That’s hockey 101. Keep your head up, son.

  • oldman

    this team does not need to start these type of hits just because our team sucks. Bad passing, not clearing the zone, shoot the puck like a REAL hockey player, that’s what should be on the mind of Brouwer. It looked like no penalty but a seasoned player still should have pulled up. Send him to the AHL

  • Johnny Dangerously

    I’m a Ranger fan and I say no suspension. Incidental. The look on Broewer’s face after the play said it all. If that wasn’t genuine concern for Stepan, then he should get an Oscar.

  • DC Hockey Nut

    Brouwer was lined up to check him in the body, but that last-moment speed/direction change by Stepan really screwed things up.

  • Youth FWD

    NOT a legit hockey hit. Stepan was nowhere near the puck, skating backwards. Brouwer looked like he was going off for a line change and decided to get a hit in before he went off. The fact that his arms went up and towards Stepan’s head (maybe not intentionally) shows that it wasn’t by chance. Brouwer is lucky not to be suspended for at least a game or fined. But if Stepan was injured severely, he would have been. Time will tell if this hit affects Stepan. Right now, doesn’t seem like it. But my verdict: Brouwer is Guilty. Not a clean hit.

  • Jim

    Kudos to Stepan for calling it a “hockey play.” I can just imagine what Torts might say if he was still behind the Blueshirts’ bench.

  • bskillet

    Troy was trying to get to the bench and his head was turned away. No penalty, no fine and no suspension, besides we have much more to worry about right now.

  • fehrrocks

    NHL should ban white jerseys and white helmets. They blend in with the ice making it difficult for players to see and thus the incidental head contact