On Monday night at Capital One Arena during the final minute of the second period a melee would breakout after Brendan Leipsic would lay down the boom and Chandler Stephenson would grow the Washington Capitals lead to three over the Anaheim Ducks. During this melee would see Garnet Hathaway fight Nick Ritchie, then get tangled with Ducks defender Erik Gudbranson.
While the referee and linesman were trying to untangle the players, Gudbranson would sucker punch Hathaway which would lead Hathaway to spitting on Gudbranson (see tweets above for videos). A decision Hathaway regretted once he realized what he did.
Colin Campbell of the NHL announced yesterday that Hathaway would have a hearing today for his actions towards Gudbranson, however, Gudbranson is not seeing any form of discipline for his sucker punch to Hathaway that led to the spitting from him. It’s also very auspicious that Hathaway is getting a hearing while Boston Bruins forward Brad Marchand spent the last two seasons licking opposing players, which is gross, to no disciplinary action outside of a talking to. Both the licking and the spitting can be seen as legitimate health concerns and should be handled accordingly, but yet some how the sucker punch is ok in today’s age of awareness of concussions and mental health, which NHL commissioner Gary Bettman still denies.
So what does Hathaway’s immediate future hold? After going through his hearing with the NHL, Hathaway has been suspended for three games for the incident, and will forfeit, per the CBA, $24,193.53 in salary based on his average annual salary. Hathaway will be able to return to the Capitals lineup on Black Friday against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Three games seems excessive given how Gudbranson received nothing for his sucker punch on Hathaway, and Marchand has never been fined or suspended for licking other players. A fine would have been more suitable for this offense, which is also a first time offense.
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