In a move which surprised Nashville Predators fans, the NHL has suspended Preds defenseman Shane O'Brien two games (per Josh Cooper's tweet), apparently for a stick foul. Of course, these two upcoming games happen to be coming against the Chicago Blackhawks in a home-and-home weekend set. Outside of a pretty routine slashing call that O'Brien took early in the 2nd period of last night's 3-2 loss at Florida, there didn't seem to be an incident worthy of league review. If anything, it was one of the least physical games we've seen in recent weeks.
UPDATE: Sean Leahy of Yahoo!'s Puck Daddy blog has posted a grainy video of the incident, and I'd have to say this is definitely worthy of a suspension. There's a downward whack with the stick, but even worse, a follow-up jab at head level which simply can't be tolerated.
UPDATE 2: The original video has been replaced with a crisper one, thanks to Travis from Broad Street Hockey:
We're especially surprised because, as OTF reader Creeping Death noted, the league turned a blind eye when Washington's Nicklas Backstrom boarded Marcel Goc earlier this season, causing Goc to miss 6 games. Between that and the Duncan Keith water-bottle incident, I didn't think Colin Campbell's office even watched Nashville games.
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We'd expect that Alexander Sulzer will get a chance to skate in O'Brien's absence.
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The following was just released by the Predators:
Nashville Predators defenseman Shane O'Brien has been suspended for two games and will forfeit $39,024.40 in salary for a high-sticking incident against Stephen Weiss of the Florida Panthers in NHL game #650, January 13, the National Hockey League announced today.
O'Brien, who was suspended for one game on November 3, 2009, is considered a repeat offender under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement. Accordingly, he forfeits his salary based on the number of games in the season (82), rather than the number of days (186). The money goes to the Players' Emergency Assistance Fund.
O'Brien will miss both of Nashville's weekend games -- a home and home series with the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday and Sunday.