As it turns out, Tuesday night’s 9-2 clobbering of the New York Rangers didn’t produce solely good news for the San Jose Sharks. After playing in his first game of the young season, defenseman Brad Stuart will now head to a hearing on Wednesday with the NHL‘s Department of Player Safety, according to Comcast SportsNet Bay Area.
The hit in question came at the 2:32 mark of the first period, when Stuart came at Rangers right winger Rick Nash with a high elbow, crunching him into the boards near the New York bench. Nash did not return to the ice after the hit. Stuart was given a two-minute minor, but that’s not the only reprimand he may receive.
The NHL will determine if the hit was a deliberate blow to the head. If the league decides that way, Stuart could face a suspension.
“It was a head shot,” Nash told the New York Daily News. “Any time there’s a head shot you’re concerned when you feel the way it feels. It’s not a good feeling.”
This is a concerning act by Stuart, who has seen his penalty minutes steadily decline over the past few seasons. His career-high in total penalty minutes is 69, which came in 2007-08 when he split a season between the Los Angeles Kings and Detroit Red Wings. Stuart has never been considered a dirty or malicious defenseman, but this most definitely cannot be considered as starting his season off on the right foot.
Stuart played just 17 minutes in Tuesday night’s contest. His minutes will likely see an increase as time goes on, but his temper needs to settle just a bit. I suppose you could blame his season-debut adrenaline.