Carlson: Garnet Hathaway suspension 'completely excessive'

Chris Lingebach
November 20, 2019 - 3:27 pm
Carlson: Garnet Hathaway suspension 'completely excessive'

Rob Carr/Getty Images

The NHL has suspended Capitals forward Garnet Hathaway for three games for spitting on defenseman Erik Gudbranson during Monday's 5-2 win over Anaheim.

The incident occurred with 33 seconds remaining in the second period, with a fight breaking out behind the net just as Chandler Stephenson scored to give the Caps a 3-0 lead. 

Gudbranson, who landed a sucker punch on Hathaway as the officials were breaking up the fight, received roughing and misconduct penalties on the ice, while Hathaway, who retaliated for the sucker punch by spitting on Gudbranson, received a fighting penalty and a match penalty, leading to a further ruling from the league.

The NHL has deemed Hathaway spitting on Gudbranson worthy of a three-game suspension, which includes a $24,193.53 fine, with the money going to the NHL Players' Emergency Assistance Fund.

John Carlson, Washington's alternate captain, reacted to Hathaway's suspension moments after it was administered during his weekly 106.7 The Fan appearance with Chad Dukes, presented by The Purple Heart. Carlson called the suspension "completely excessive."

"Yeah, I think it's completely excessive in my opinion," Carlson said Wednesday. "I know that there really hasn't been much to compare it to and whatnot. And we all know the situation, and we all know what happened, and no one likes the result, but there just isn't really anything to compare it to, which is the hard part, in terms of having a feeling on it."

The Capitals meet the Ducks again quite soon, in Anaheim on Dec. 6. Carlson anticipates the bad blood from Monday's result will probably carry over to their next encounter.

"Yeah, you'll know within the first couple minutes," said Carlson. "Sometimes they're in the other division and we don't see 'em too often, and there obviously was some bad blood that game. But sometimes, early on, you can set the tone of the game and it's business as usual. Sometimes, it really carries over right away, so I'm sure it won't be a ballet affair out there, but I think we'll know early on in that game in Anaheim."

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"You mentioned that you thought the three (games) is excessive, but of course we don't have anything really to base it off of," Dukes followed up. "Why do you think that's an excessive punishment if we don't have that kind of hard deck, as far as what should happen in instances like this?"

"I think because of the situation is the big one for me," said Carlson. "When you're getting punched in the face and you literally can't do anything to defend yourself, I feel like you just resort to anything that you can do, and in that situation, I think that was pretty much his only response to the situation."

"I think there could have been a lot of different things that could have happened out of his control that could have stopped it a lot earlier and a lot easier, and we wouldn't even be talking about this," he said. "So there's plenty of factors. I know (Brad) Marchand got into a little run-in with licking someone, and he didn't get suspended, so three games definitely seems pretty excessive to me."

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