Mike Green wasn't penalized during Thursday's game for hitting Tampa Bay forward Brett Connolly in the head, but the NHL announced on Friday evening that the Capitals defenseman will be suspended three games for the elbow he delivered during the second period of Washington's 3-2 overtime win.
Said vice president of player safety Brendan Shanahan, "Connolly is carrying the puck behind the Washington net when he is angled and rubbed into the boards by Capitals defenseman Dmitry Orlov. While Connolly is engaged with Orlov, Green approaches from the right of the two battling players. Green raises and drives his left arm into Connolly's head with significant force, making it the principal point of contact, and causing it to impact the glass. This is a hit to the head and a clear violation of rule 48."
Shanahan also made sure to point out that even though Connolly was bent over prior to the hit, he did not do anything to put himself in a vulnerable position just prior to the hit, and that when Green committed to the check, Connolly was already bent over in that position.
It's going to be a big loss for the Capitals as they continue their fight for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, as well as a potential Southeast Division title.
Green has been suspended one other time in his career, missing three games for a hit on Michael Frolik back in 2010.
With Green out of the lineup it means the Capitals will have to put either John Erskine or Roman Hamrlik back on the ice, something that hasn't happened much in recent weeks, while they've had little communication with head coach Dale Hunter.
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Video: Green elbows Connolly in the head
Hunter hasn't been speaking with Erskine, Hamrlik
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