Sharks defenseman Brad Stuart stated his case to the NHL early Wednesday afternoon that he did not target the head of Rick Nash in a first period check in Tuesday’s game against the New York Rangers.
The NHL agreed to some extent, but still suspended the 15-year veteran for three games. Stuart will lose over $55,000 because of the suspension. You can read the online story .
Although the NHL ruled that Stuart did not charge Nash, who called it a “head shot,” or extend his elbow or forearm, Brendan Shanahan, in his video explanation, said Stuart “unnecessarily extends the left side of his body upward, specifically his left shoulder, in a way that makes that makes Nash’s head the main point of contact, causing an injury,” a violation of Rule 48.
Stuart actually received a elbowing penalty on the play, but the replay showed that Stuart’s elbow did not come in contact with Nash’s head.
“I got an elbowing penalty, but you can clearly see that my elbow is down,” Stuart said of the Nash hit. “The video it appears I hit his shoulder, and that was the main point of contact. … What gave him a concussion, I don’t know, but that’s how I saw it.”
The suspension likely means Jason Demers and Scott Hannan will dress for the next three games and be paired as a defensive unit.
Be sure to check out a profile on Sharks rookie sensation Tomas Hertl by our own David Pollak and Dan Brown. You can read the story , complete with video and a great photo gallery. Worth checking out.
Some stuff that didn’t make it to print …
The Sharks’ 3-0 start to this year hasn’t quite reached the level of last season’s white-hot beginning, but San Jose’s players feel just as good – perhaps better – about where their game is at as they prepare to face Vancouver in their first road contest of the 2013-14 campaign.
Instead of relying on their power play for offense, as they did during most of last’s season’s 7-0 start, the Sharks have scored 12 of their 17 goals at even strength. Offense from a variety of sources hasn’t hurt either, as nine forwards and five defensemen had at least one point in Tuesday’s 9-2 home romp over the New York Rangers.
Through it all, Sharks goalie Antti Niemi has also allowed just four goals.
“Having a balanced attack, that’s one of the things we talked about during training camp, that we had to get more from our team 5-on-5,” said Sharks forward Patrick Marleau, who had nine goals in the first five games last season. “So far, we’ve been able to do that. We just have to be able to continue with it and make sure all areas of the game are dialed in.”
Joe Pavelski, Tommy Wingels and Matt Nieto accounted for a combined eight points against the Rangers, giving the Sharks a productive third unit to go with Joe Thornton’s line with Brent Burns and Tomas Hertl and Logan Couture’s line with Patrick Marleau and Tyler Kennedy.
“This year it feels different because the whole team is contributing,” said Pavelski, who leads the team in assists with five. “Last year, obviously our power play was really hot early. This year, our five on five has been really good.
“I don’t know if we’ve really worked on anything, it’s just that we’re executing better. Guys are playing fast and we’re getting a lot of chances. It’s been a simple game for us. Pucks are moving quickly and we’re executing coming out of our own end.”
Last season’s 7-0 start included two victories on the road, but for the rest of the regular season the Sharks were a paltry 6-14-2 away from San Jose.
After Thursday, the Sharks play two of their following nine games at home, including a five-game, 10-day road trip through Detroit, Boston, Montreal, Ottawa and Los Angeles at the end of the month.
“It’s a test,” Sharks coach Todd McLellan said. “We need to take the game we have right now on the road with us and see if we can duplicate it.”
– There continues to be no timetable for Sharks forward Adam Burish’s return to the lineup, or even to skating with the team in practice. Burish (lower body) has not played since San Jose’s first preseason game against the Canucks on Sept. 16. McLellan said Burish is able to do some conditioning work, but has not been skating.