Lost in the whirlwind of euphoria accompanying last night's slamming of the New York Rangers into The Hertl Locker was the fact that Rangers star Rick Nash left the game minutes in with concussion-like symptoms. The cause was a hit to the head by Sharks defenseman Brad Stuart, playing his first game of the regular season.
The league announced today that Stuart will have a meeting with the Department of Player Safety and ESPN's Pierre LeBrun confirmed that it will be over the phone, meaning Stuart can't be suspended for more than five games. Here's a look at the best angle of the hit available, courtesy the MSG broadcast feed of the game.
The principal point of contact is somewhat obscured but it isn't difficult to piece together that Stuart very likely launched his left elbow at Nash's head. The officials clearly agreed with that take, issuing the defenseman a minor for elbowing. The hit isn't dissimilar to the one Anton Volchenkov was suspended four games for administering to Brad Marchand in April. Given the fact that Nash was injured on the play and, as much as it shouldn't matter but obviously does, is a marketable star on a huge-market team, I wouldn't be surprised with a similar punishment for Stuart. Still, the video is inconclusive (as is similar footage from the CSN-CA feed) which obviously works in Stuart's favor. Anyway, back to your regularly scheduled programming.