The Washington Times - March 9, 2012, 06:31PM

Mike Green appeared to line up Brett Connolly a few strides away and delivered a hit to the Tampa Bay Lightning forward’s head Tuesday night. He didn’t get a minor penalty on the play but was punished much worse with a three-game suspension from the NHL.

VP of player safety Brendan Shanahan announced the suspension with a video Friday evening. The Washington Capitals defenseman will be ineligible to play Saturday at the Boston Bruins, Sunday against the Toronto Maple Leafs and Tuesday at the New York Islanders.


Green will forfeit $85,135.14 in salary.

Shanahan made it clear this was an illegal hit to the head, and pointed out the time Green took before making the play.

When Green decides to commit to this check, Connolly already is bent over,” Shanahan said. “Green sees Connolly in this position; he then slows down, waits, loads up and targets Connolly’s head.”

The Caps were under a cone of silence, for the most part, about the hit and possible suspension earlier Friday, though defenseman Roman Hamrlik defended Green even while not essentially defending the shot to the head.

We don’t want to see those hits. But it’s going to still happen,” said Hamrlik, who has been a healthy scratch recently. “I know Greenie, he’s not dirty player. He wouldn’t hurt anybody. He wants to play hard. Unfortunately the guy was a little bit down and he hit him in the head. That’s what happens.

Hopefully he’s not going to get too many games suspension.”

Dmitry Orlov had rubbed Connolly out of the play with a check along the boards when Green approached.

Green raises and drives his left arm into Connolly’s head with significant force, making it the principle point of contact and causing it to impact the glass,” Shanahan said.

Connolly was shaken up on the play but came back to play in the third period Tuesday. He shrugged it off as a “hockey play,” though coach Guy Boucher said it was clearly a hit that targeted the head.

Shanahan and the NHL agreed, handing Green his second career suspension. The first came January 2010, three games for an elbow to the head of Michael Frolik.

That prior record, and Green’s actions on the play, led to this suspension.

Green was not made available for comment Thursday night or Friday, though a team spokesman said he would be available Saturday morning in Boston before the Caps’ game at the Bruins.

Full Shanahan video: