Sharks D Stuart suspended 3 games

New York, NY ( - The National Hockey League handed down a three-game suspension to San Jose Sharks defenseman Brad Stuart on Wednesday.

Stuart was given a minor penalty for elbowing Rangers forward Rick Nash in the first period of an eventual 9-2 San Jose victory on Tuesday night. Nash left the contest and did not return.

"Although he has made himself vulnerable to the oncoming check, he (Nash) is not carrying his head in a lowered position, nor does he move in a way which significantly contributes to his head being hit," explained NHL director of player safety Brendan Shanahan in a video description of the incident.

"He (Stuart) delivers the hit well within the allowable time frame and he does not extend his elbow or forearm. However, Stuart, who is two inches shorter than Nash, unnecessarily launches the left side of his body upward, in a way that makes Nash's head the main point of contact and causing an injury."

The 33-year-old, who has never before been fined or suspended for any on-ice action, will forfeit $55,384.62 in salary which is automatically deposited into the Players' Emergency Assistance Fund.

He will not be eligible to return until the Sharks play in Dallas on Oct. 17, missing out on games against the Canucks, Senators and Blues.