2:15 pm: Shattenkirk has been suspended for two games, the NHL Department of Player Safety announced (video link). He will miss the games against the Ducks and Wild and will be eligible to return to the lineup on Thursday. Shattenkirk will forfeit a little over $47K in salary as a result of the suspension.
11:59 am: Following last night’s Capitals-Kings contest, NHL Player Safety announced that Washington defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk would have a disciplinary hearing over the phone with league officials following his charge against Los Angeles defender Kevin Gravel. With the Capitals in California on a west coast trip and scheduled to play the Anaheim Ducks tonight, the league acted quickly to schedule the hearing and is expected to make a swift decision prior to puck drop. This is Shattenkirk’s first career disciplinary review and the first for any Capitals player this season.
In the game, a 4-2 Kings win, Shattenkirk was called for a charge late in the third period after a check on Gravel and was given a minor two-minute penalty. Shattenkirk swung around the L.A. net as Gravel played the puck and, after the pass had been made, followed through on his hit, seemingly launching himself shoulder-first at the head area of Gravel. Gravel hit the boards and then fell to the ice, before exiting the ice and heading to the locker room for the short remainder of the game. There has been no word on whether or not Gravel suffered a head injury or other impairment as a result of the impact.
Shattenkirk, the prize of the 2017 NHL Trade Deadline, has played well since he was acquired on February 27th, recording four assists and over 20 minutes of ice time a night in six games. However, the Capitals have not been so lucky in that time. The NHL points-leaders are just .500 with Shattenkirk in the fold, having won their first three games after he was acquired, but then losing their last three. This recent stretch is the first time all season that the team has lost three games in a row in regulation time, and face a significant threat of dropping their fourth straight tonight in Anaheim, especially if Shattenkirk is out of the lineup. The Capitals may wrap up this tough west coast road trip tonight, but that doesn’t necessarily mean things will get right back on track, as they host the Minnesota Wild and Nashville Predators upon their return to D.C.. The team would again greatly benefit from having Shattenkirk, a player with knowledge of Central Division competition, in the lineup for those contests. A suspension seems likely based on the visuals of the hit, but anything longer than a game or two may be a stretch. However, we won’t know for sure until the hearing later on today. Stay tuned.