Brashear suspension: NHL does the right thing

April 27, 2009 | Drew Forrester

I was right on the money with this one, even though I guess I was hoping I wouldn’t be.

I remarked in a blog comment earlier Monday and in today’s edition of The Comcast Morning Show that I – if I were the NHL Commissioner – would suspend Washington’s Donald Brashear for five games for the hit he laid on Blair Betts in Sunday’s Game 6 in New York.  About an hour ago, Brashear was suspended for six games…1 game for a pre-game incident on Sunday afternoon in New York and 5 games for the hit on Betts at center ice.

I like Brashear as a player.  I think he’s been somewhat valuable for Washington in this playoff series, in fact.  Late in the year when he was out with a knee injury, the Caps play suffered a bit without his physical presence in the lineup.

None of that matters, though, when you see this hit from Sunday’s game.  Betts was unable to return to the game and is not going to be available for Tuesday’s Game #7.  

It was uncalled for from Brashear and could, potentially, harm his own team’s chances of winning on Tuesday night at the Verizon Center.  Still, it was a fair suspension from the NHL.  There’s no room in the league for hitting a player in an unsuspecting fashion like that.  Earlier today, one caller into my show said, “you have to have your head on a swivel in the playoffs…”  No, you don’t.  You should be able to play the game without the thought of having a guy hit you from the blindside with no intention at all of playing the puck.  The puck was gone by the time Brashear came crashing in and there was no intent to do anything there except lay Betts out on the ice.  

I hope this doesn’t affect the Caps on Tuesday night, but no matter the outcome of the game, the outcome of the Brashear hit on Betts was handled correctly by the NHL today.