The Washington Capitals have made no secret of their dissatisfaction with the NHL's decision to suspend forward Nicklas Backstrom.
The franchise released a statement on Wednesday, expressing its chagrin over the penalty. Washington will be without Backstrom's services for a pivotal home Game 4 of its first-round playoff series with the defending-champion Boston Bruins.
"We disagree with the NHL's decision to suspend Nicklas Backstrom," the statement read. "This has been a competitive and physical series, and we do not understand why a suspension was imposed in this case while other incidents in this series have not been reviewed. Our singular focus now is on Game 4, and we look forward to the energy that our great fans provide."
After cross-checking Bruins forward Rich Peverley at the tail end of Game 3, Backstrom was assessed a match penalty, leading to an automatic suspension. The Capitals enter Thursday night's tilt at the Verizon Center trailing 2-1 in the best-of-seven series.
Capitals Head Coach Dale Hunter defended Backstrom on Tuesday, saying that the Bruins have been "crossing the line" by going after his head. Bruins Team President and Hockey Hall-of-Famer Cam Neely weighed in from the other side on Wednesday, denying that the Bruins were "specifically" targeting Backstrom's head. Neely added that the cross-check was a "nasty" one.
Watch the cross-check and let us know what you think of the penalty.