New York, NY (Sports Network) - The National Hockey League issued a three-
game suspension to Washington Capitals defenseman John Erskine on Saturday
for his actions in Friday's game against the Philadelphia Flyers.
Erskine was punished for his hit to the head on Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds
late in the first period of a 3-2 Capitals victory. He was not given a penalty
on the play, while Simmonds left the game and did not return.
"When Erskine realizes he is going to get beat (to the puck along the boards),
he tries to get a piece of his opponent to prevent an outnumbered rush.
However, in doing so, he raises his elbow, striking Simmonds in the face. As
Erskine looks up, he is clearly aware of Simmonds' proximity before delivering
the illegal hit," stated NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan in a video
explanation of the ruling.
"While we acknowledge there was no malicious intent, and that Erskine was
reacting to getting beat, this nevertheless is a reckless elbow to the head
that caused a serious injury."
Erskine, a first-time offender, will forfeit $24,324.33 in salary, which
automatically goes to the Players' Emergency Assistance Fund. He will be
eligible to return to action when the Caps host the Florida Panthers on Feb.
The Sports Network