NHL discipline czar Brendan Shanahan has suspended St. Louis Blues forward Chris Stewart three games for his hit on Detroit’s Nicklas Kronwall last night. The incident occurred at 11:14 of the first period of St. Louis’ 2-1 win:
The decision to suspend Stewart didn’t surprise many. Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard said afterward that “it’s one of those plays at the beginning of the year they told us they’re going to be sticklers on,” while Dan Cleary added “it’s a dangerous play that far from the boards.”
Even Stewart’s teammate, David Backes, had a hard time claiming the hit shouldn’t be suspended.
“I don’t know. You look at the criteria put forth. [Stewart] has never been suspended before, never had a hearing before. Kronwall looks injured on the play, but he comes back,” he told Dan O’Neil of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “Is it an ugly hit? Yeah, it’s not pretty.”
In a statement on the team website, St. Louis GM Doug Armstrong said “we respect the decision by Brendan and the National Hockey League as they continue to enforce the safety of all players during our games.”
When discussing the hit with Jeremy Rutherford of the Post-Dispatch, Armstrong added, “It’s a situation that we accept and we move on with. But I just want to be 100 percent crystal clear that our support for the type of player Stewart is hasn’t wavered. He’s a very honest, hard player. This is a hockey play that went awry.”
Stewart will miss games Nov. 17 vs. Florida, Nov. 19 at Minnesota and Nov. 22 vs. Los Angeles. He will be eligible to return Nov. 23 at Pittsburgh.