The NHL decided on Tuesday that the match penalty for Nicklas Backstrom of the Washington Capitals should stand, suspending him for Game 4 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals against the Boston Bruins for this cross-check to the face of Rich Peverley:
On Wednesday, the Washington Capitals let it be known that they don't think the NHL made the right decision. Here's the official statement the team released:
"We disagree with the NHL's decision to suspend Nicklas Backstrom. This has been a competitive and physical series, and we do not understand why a suspension was imposed in this case while other incidents in this series have not been reviewed. Our singular focus now is on Game 4, and we look forward to the energy that our great fans provide."
There's obviously an aspect of gamesmanship here, as the Capitals get around a fine by indirectly criticizing the officiating for not being proactive on the "other incidents" in the series. Time will tell if it's effective.
Meanwhile, the Capitals players reacted to the suspension. Alex Ovechkin said "it's kind of bad decision" on the part of the NHL, but defenseman Karl Alzner told the Washington Times that it was expected:
"See for yourself, it doesn't look good," Alzner said.
"I haven't heard any of the reasoning why it's a game, why it's not more games, why it's [not] no games. I haven't heard any of the explanation. That's kind of what we were expecting: match penalty."
Of course, it's in Alzner's best interests to keep the league in his good graces, being that Milan Lucic will try to end him for this in Game 4.
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