David Backes suspended three games for interference
David Backes has been suspended three games for interference on Detroit’s Frans Nielsen in Tuesday’s overtime win, the Department of Player Safety announced Wednesday.
The hit, which warranted a minor for roughing at the time, came at 19:44 of the first period and took Nielsen out of the game. Although it was a late hit to the head initiated after Nielsen let go of the puck, the severity of the punishment is a bit of a surprise. Backes has no history with the DoPS and has never been fined or suspended in his 848-game NHL career.
Here’s a look at Backes’ hit on Nielsen:
— Colin Beswick (@CBeswick) March 7, 2018
“The interference rule provides a brief window in which a player who initiates a hit while his opponent is in possession of the puck may legally finish a check. This is not such a case,” the Player Safety Department explained in their video ruling, which you can view here. “Backes does not initiate this hit until after the puck is gone, and contact is made outside the allowable window for finishing a check… In addition to the lateness of the check, what elevates this hit to merit supplemental discipline is the significant head contact that occurs and the force with which it is delivered.”
This isn’t great timing for the Bruins, considering Patrice Bergeron and Charlie McAvoy are out indefinitely with lower-body injuries. Backes had been playing center on the third line in place of Riley Nash, who moved up to fill in for Bergeron.
Backes will miss Thursday’s game with the Flyers and this weekend’s home-and-home series with the Blackhawks. He’ll also forfeit $96,774.18 during his three-game ban.