Kevin Shattenkirk said he takes responsibility for the hit that led to his two-game suspension and feels fortunate that Los Angeles defenseman Kevin Gravel was not injured.
“I have to take responsibility for the hit,” said Shattenkirk, who was assessed a charging minor. “I made a bad read. I thought he was coming in at a different angle and I’d have a cleaner hit, and he went another route. It’s on me at that point to adjust or slow up and not make that hit.”
“More than anything,” the Caps defenseman continued, “it’s fortunate that [Gravel] is not out and it wound up being more of my fault and no one else had to suffer for it, really, other than my team, which for me hurts the most.”
Shattenkirk served the first game of the ban Sunday against Anaheim and will miss the second game Tuesday night when the Western Conference-leading Wild visit Verizon Center.
It’s the first time in Shattenkirk’s seven year career that he’s been disciplined by the league.
Shattenkirk said he explained his position in a brief conference call with representatives from the NHL’s Department of Player Safety on Sunday afternoon. Then, about an hour later, he received a call from Caps General Manager Brian MacLellan, who delivered the bad news.
“They have a formula that they have to stick to and some boxes that get checked off on certain hits,” Shattenkirk said. “Unfortunately, my hit checked off a few too many boxes in the criteria that they use to judge those situations.”
He added: “Looking at a lot of the other suspensions that have been handed out, that’s kind of a similar amount to what’s been done before.”
With regard to the hit, Shattenkirk indicated that he probably was trying to do too much.
“We didn’t have any sort of altercations earlier in the game,” Shattenkirk said of Gravel, who was stunned by the high hit but remained in the game. “Really, it was me just trying to make an aggressive play on my dump [in]. Just dumping the puck and having four minutes left [in a one-goal game], I wanted to try to make a difference and try to go make an offensive read.”
Shattenkirk, who also forfeited more than $47,000 in salary, is eligible to return Thursday against Nashville. He said he hopes to pick up where he left off as continues to adjust to a new team.
“It’s certainly not ideal,” he said of losing two games in that process. “I was really starting to get into a groove with these guys. And it’s a tough time for the team right now, so I wish I was more a part of it.”
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