Washington Capitals defenseman Mike Green has been suspended three games by the NHL for his hit on Tampa Bay Lightning forward Brett Connolly during Washington's 3-2 overtime victory Thursday.
With just under nine minutes remaining in the second period, Green drove his upper arm and left shoulder into Connolly's head while the latter was tangled with Caps defenseman Dmitry Orlov along the end boards. Connolly was rendered defenseless as Green made contact and crumpled to the ice, but he ultimately left under his own power and played six more shifts in the third period and overtime. No penalty was called on the play.
Green's hit on Connolly was a clear violation of Rule 48: "Illegal Check To The Head," as Department of Player Safety head Brendan Shanahan explained in the video below:
"Green sees Connolly [in the bent over position]," Shanahan said in the video. "He then slows down, waits, loads up and targets Connolly's head, making it the principal point of contact."
Shanahan said that the NHL took into account Green's prior history (one suspension and one fine) as well as the fact that Connolly returned to the game.
Green will miss Saturday's game against the Boston Bruins, Sunday's game against the Toronto Maple Leafs and Tuesday's game against the New York Islanders. He is eligible to return March 16 against the Winnipeg Jets.