Brouwer avoids suspension from hit on Stepan

Brouwer avoids suspension from hit on Stepan
October 17, 2013, 11:15 am
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Troy Brouwer collides with Derek Stepan

[Updated 11:30 a.m.]

The NHL has ruled Troy Brouwer's hit on Derek Stepan in Wednesday's Capitals vs. Rangers game was "accidental" and will not suspend the Caps forward for Saturday's game against the Blue Jackets.

With about 45 seconds gone in the third period of their 2-0 loss to the New York Rangers on Wednesday, Brouwer was heading toward the bench when he collided with Rangers center Derek Stepan. Replays indicated that Brouwer’s left arm made contact with Stepan’s head.

“I was at the end of my shift,” Brouwer explained after the game. “[Caps defenseman Mike] Green had the puck and was pulling it out of our zone. I was going for a change and there was a little incidental contact in the neutral zone.”

Actually, it was more than a little contact. Stepan dropped to the ice and left the game before later returning and playing four shifts.

“I’m glad to see that he came back and wasn’t seriously hurt,” Brouwer said. “Those can be tough plays and I pride myself on being an honest player and I tried to get out of the way without causing as much damage as possible.”

Stepan told reporters he thought the hit was accidental on the part of Brouwer, but Rangers coach Alain Vigneault was unhappy no penalty was called on the play.

“If he couldn’t see him, I don’t know what else he was looking at,” Vigneault said of Brouwer. “Obviously, the principal point of contact was the head, so we’ll see.”

Brouwer has never been suspended by the NHL.