Sharks' Patrick Marleau dodges NHL suspension for head shot
San Jose Sharks forward Patrick Marleau will not face supplemental discipline for his hit to the head of Pittsburgh Penguins winger Bryan Rust during Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final on Monday night.
Nick Kypreos of Sportsnet reported on Tuesday morning that Marleau will not have a hearing with the league's Department of Player Safety.
Marleau was assessed a minor penalty for an illegal check to the head after making contact with Rust, who had his head down while losing the puck in his feet. Replays appeared to show Marleau's shoulder connecting with Rust's head on the play, but without the maliciousness or recklessness that had characterized other incidents of contact that led to suspension.
Rust, who scored the Penguins' first goal in the 3–2 victory, briefly went to the quiet room, but returned he action. He skated just one shift before leaving the game for good.
In his postgame comments, Penguins coach Mike Sullivan described the incident as “a blindside hit to the head.” He categorized Rust as “day-to day with an upper-body injury.” He did not, however, explain the decision to allow Rust to return to the game.
Rust has been Pittsburgh's hottest scorer, so any time he misses will be a significant blow to the Pens. Upon scoring his first-period goal, he'd counted four of the team's five most recent goals. The rookie now has six on the postseason, two more than he had in 41 regular-season games.
Marleau also had scored in the contest. He tied the game at two late in the second period, beating Matt Murray with a slick wraparound goal.
Game 2 is Wednesday night in Pittsburgh.