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CAPITALS: Nicklas Backstrom Apologizes, Calls Cross-Check ‘Stupid’
ARLINGTON – Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom said his cross-check to the face of Boston right wing Rich Peverley following a loss Monday in Game 3 of the teams’ first-round Stanley Cup playoff series was “stupid” and publicly apologized for his actions, which earned him a one-game suspension.
“I’ve got to deal with it now,” Backstrom said Wednesday at Kettler Capitals Iceplex. “I mean, one game – I don’t know. Whatever. I don’t like it or whatever. I’ve got to deal with it, so it is what it is.”
Backstrom approached Peverley, who tripped Alex Ovechkin with seconds remaining in the Bruins’ 4-3 victory at Verizon Center, and cross-checked him in the face.
He was assessed a match penalty, which carries an automatic one-game suspension – a decision that was upheld by the NHL office Tuesday following a telephone conversation between Backstrom and vice president of player safety Brendan Shanahan.
“I mean, he was going after Ovi first, and I was just turning around,” said Backstrom, who spent about a minute answering three questions regarding the incident. “That’s all I can say. I’m sorry about that. It was stupid on my part.”
Peverley downplayed the cross-check when asked about the one-game suspension, saying only that the NHL dealt with it in a way it deemed fit.
“It doesn’t matter what I think,” Peverley said. “The league dealt with it and that was what they felt sufficed. I can’t do anything about it. That’s the league’s decision.”
Asked if he considered himself fortunate that he didn’t respond to Backstrom’s cross-check, especially given the suspension, he said he didn’t even have an opportunity to do so.
“It just happened so quickly that by the time everything happened, it happened quickly,” Peverley said. “The refs jumped in and everybody jumped in, so it’s not like any reactions were going to happen.”
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