Shocker here: NHL head coach doesn’t think his player should be suspended. When Washington Capitals defenseman Matt Niskanen was ejected from game 3 in his team’s second round playoff series against the Pittsburgh Penguins for cross checking Penguins superstar Sidney Crosby in the head, the immediate reaction from fans and analysts was, “how long will he be suspended for?” The answer, it turns out, is zero. As in zero games, and that’s just fine with Capitals head coach Barry Trotz.
“I thought it was the right decision,” Trotz said Tuesday morning. “I mean, you had two forces, one coming across [and another] coming this way. That’s hockey,” he added. “It’s a hockey play.”
Regardless of how you interpret the play, it’s clear that Trotz is happy to have Niskanen in the lineup for a pivotal game 4 tonight at Pittsurgh’s PPG Paints Arena. “He’s a calming presence,” Trotz said when describing Niskanen. “He plays the game the right way. He makes a lot of good decisions. He’s just a solid [player]. He’s probably not exceptional at anything, but he’s very good at everything.”
We’re not sure if Trotz’s definition of “everything” includes taking out the game’s biggest superstar, but we’re guessing not. In any case, given the circumstances and everything that’s on the line, tonight’s contest should have a few extra fireworks.