Andrew Shaw will have a hearing with the NHL’s Department of Player Safety on Thursday for boarding Capitals defenseman Connor Hobbs.
Shaw, perhaps upset about being upended by Jay Beagle moments earlier, lined up Hobbs and nailed the Washington prospect, who had his back turned, into the end boards late in the second period of Tuesday’s 5-2 loss in Montreal.
Shaw was then confronted by another Capitals’ prospect, Nathan Walker. As Walker threw punches, Shaw attempted to rile up the crowd by waving his arms as if to say, ‘Louder.’ Hobbs and Walker have never appeared in an NHL game; Shaw is entering his sixth NHL season.
After the game, Capitals associate coach Todd Reirden praised Walker for coming to Hobbs’ defense.
“I’ll always point stuff like that out,” Reirden told team reporter Mike Vogel at Bell Centre. “That’s team. That’s Capitals’ hockey. That’s one part of hockey that will never change for me is that you stick [up] for a teammate, especially in preseason. It was incredibly brave. He did an outstanding job.”
Shaw received a five minute major for boarding and a game misconduct. In all, he was assessed 30 minutes in penalties.
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There are a lot of reasons the Nationals like reliever Sammy Solis, beyond the obvious, that he's simply another good left-hander they can use in late-game spots. He's versatile with the ability to pitch multiple innings and he can also get both lefties and righties out.
Solis holds lefties to a .193 batting average and right-handers to a .229 clip. As manager Dusty Baker has said before, he doesn't have to mix-and-match with Solis like he does with other left-handed relievers.
Tuesday night was the first time in a while that Baker got to call on Solis. The 28-year-old had just returned from the disabled list after recovering from left shoulder inflammation. His seventh inning spot against the Diamondbacks was his first since Aug. 15. After six weeks of rehab, including a setback, Solis is now back in the mix, just in time for the playoffs.
"He said he was ready. We threw him right in the fire," Baker said.
Solis came back firing his fastball at 93 and 94 miles per hour. His first pitch sailed high and out of the zone. He was nervous.
“I would say a few butterflies in there," he said. "But once I got past the first pitch it was all good. Right back to the comfort zone of being on the mound.”
Solis quickly found his command and got three outs on balls put in play. He threw 12 pitches to complete a perfect frame and a bridge to the eighth inning where Shawn Kelley took over.
That seventh inning could be a good place for Solis with Kelley thriving in the setup role and Mark Melancon firmly installed in the ninth. Baker clearly trusts Solis in high leverage spots, as evidenced by his decision to hand him one in his first game back.
“Honestly, I want to be there. I expect to be there, having my name called in later innings in a close game," Solis said.
Solis can get just about anyone out when he's pitching well. But having him in store for the NL Division Series against the Dodgers could prove paramount. Their lineup is potent and it's heavy on left-handers.
Between Corey Seager, Adrian Gonzalez, Chase Utley and Joc Pederson, the Dodgers not only have balance, they have tons of power from the left side. Those four have a combined 80 homers this season and Solis has never allowed one to a left-handed batter through 97 plate appearances.
Solis saw the Dodgers twice this year - on June 20 and 21 - and struck out three through 1 2/3 innings. He feels like he can be a big help in that series.
"I really hope I’m in there especially with a left-handed dominant lineup like they have and some power as well. I just hope to be on [the playoff roster]" he said.
He doesn't have to worry about that one.
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