Report: Stuart suspended three games for hit on Rick Nash

Following this afternoon's hearing, the Sharks defenseman has reportedly received a three-game ban from the NHL.

According to Larry Brooks of the New York Post, Sharks defenseman Brad Stuart has been suspended for three games by the NHL's Department of Player Safety for his hit to the head of Rick Nash in last night's game.

We speculated this morning that, despite the video evidence of Stuart's hit being awfully inconclusive, the optics of it and the precedence established by the league suspending Anton Volchenkov for a similar incident in April likely meant a four-game ban. So in that sense, perhaps Stuart got off easier than could have been expected although it will be interesting to see what footage Brendan Shanahan uses in his suspension explanation video, since it's difficult to determine anything illegal happened on either of the feeds we've been privy to thus far.

At any rate, it's unlikely Stuart's suspension will have much of an impact on the team given that they spent the entirety of preseason and training camp, in addition to the two regular season games before last night, without him in the lineup. Scott Hannan, who was more than adequate on the third pairing in wins over Vancouver and Phoenix last week, will draw back in alongside Jason Demers. Stuart will be eligible to return to the Sharks lineup when they take on the Stars in Dallas next Thursday.

Update: And here's the official Shanaban video, complete with a reverse angle of the hit: