Rick Nash believed it was a head shot. Todd McLellan's staff told him it was a "normal hit." In the eyes of the NHL's Department of Player Safety, they agreed with Nash; and for that, San Jose Sharks defensemen Brad Stuart was given a three-game ban.
Here's Brendan Shanahan with the explanation:
Remember, entering this season the NHL removed the word "targeting" from the definition of Rule 48 and made it so that, along with other factors, any contact to the head that was avoidable could be punishable. d.
As Shanahan explains, Stuart had almost everything ticked off on the "good hit" check list until he finished with his left shoulder going into Nash's head. The Rangers' forward didn't put himself in a vulnerable position before the hit or changed the positioning of his head just before Stuart arrived.
In this day and age, that's going to get you dinged every time, even if you haven't been disciplined in 13 years, like Stuart.
Follow Sean Leahy on Twitter at @Sean_Leahy