Watch the above clip and tell me that Donald Brashear should be allowed to play in the NHL this year. He’s a big, hard-nosed player, who occasionally takes liberty with hits, but this was too far. Way too far. Brashear viciously elbowed an unaware Blair Betts in Game 6 between the Washington Capitals and New York Rangers. Betts had played the puck a few seconds earlier and even if the hit hadn’t been an elbow to the head, it was late. It was a dangerous cheap shot and Brashear shouldn’t be allowed to play in the rest of the playoffs or next year.
Give him a year suspension.
That kind of play has no place in sports so if that is how Brashear is going to play, then he has no place in sports. Betts was knocked unconscious and needed significant help just getting off the ice. It was an elbow right to the head. Forgetting about the game and Betts’s career for a moment, Brashear’s antics could have paralyzed Betts. An elbow that hard right to the head could certainly change a man’s life forever.
Now, some may say that Brashear used his shoulder and not his elbow and that the hit was only a bit late. Look at the clip again. Brashear follows through with the elbow, not the shoulder. He wasn’t trying to hit Betts. He was trying to hurt him.
Worst of all, out of the scrum that ensued, the Capitals GAINED a power play. Brashear takes a cheap shot at a Ranger player and it HELPS his team. (EDIT: I was wrong here. There were matching roughing penalties and no penalty for the hit at all so the teams played 4 on 4. However, the Rangers lost their best faceoff man in Betts) That can’t happen. Replay needs to be used here. I’m not entirely sure if the league allows replay to be used on scrums like that, but Brashear needs to receive a 5-minute major penalty and an ejection. The rest of the players in the scrum can receive matching minor penalties. At the very least, New York deserves to get a lengthy power play. After all, it was their player who got knocked out.
The NHL is announcing later today if Brashear will be suspended. Are you kidding? “If” should be a forgone conclusion. The real question should be “How long will he be suspended?” Unfortunately, I’m guessing it will only be one game. It is Game 7, but it is not enough. Unlike Milan Lucic’s 1-game suspension earlier this year, Brashear was not antagonized. Betts did not get into Brashear’s face. It was a cheap play out of nowhere.
Come on, Gary Bettman. Step up and give Brashear a year suspension. He deserves it.
EDIT: Brashear got 6 games which is less than I called for obviously (a full season suspension would not actually happen though I think it fits the crime), but certainly more than I expected so I commend the NHL and Bettman