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Dale Hunter: The Bruins targeted Nicklas Backstrom’s head

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April 17, 2012

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Nicklas Backstrom received a one game suspension on Tuesday for his cross check on Bruins forward Rich Peverley, but Washington Capitals head coach Dale Hunter thinks Backstrom was just protecting himself.

“It is crossing the line,” Hunter said. “To grab his head all the time is not the right way to play.”

Backstrom has a history of concussions and Hunter was asked point blank if the Bruins are targeting Backstrom’s head.

“If you noticed it, every scrum, Nicky comes out with no helmet on. He gets blockered to the head by (goalie Tim) Thomas the game before,” Hunter said. “So he’s protecting his head. He’s got to protect himself. If you get a second concussion, you’re out a long time. If it wasn’t there, if a stick wasn’t in his face, Nicky Backstrom’s not that kind of player. He doesn’t just cross-check somebody in the face. He’s not like that,” Hunter said.

Capitals forward Troy Brouwer agrees with his coach.

“There’s been a couple times where they’ve gone after his head and grabbed him and thrown him to the ice,” Brouwer said. “So I can understand why Nicky is a little bit nervous about when sticks come up.”

Was this a dirty play or was Backstrom protecting himself?

Tom

Tom

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