Capitals brace for Hathaway to be suspended for spitting

                                                                                                                                                                                                   
  • Washington Capitals right wing Garnet Hathaway (21) fights Anaheim Ducks center Derek Grant (38) during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Monday, Nov. 18, 2019, in Washington.

    Washington Capitals right wing Garnet Hathaway (21) fights Anaheim Ducks center Derek Grant (38) during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Monday, Nov. 18, 2019, in Washington. Associated Press

  • Washington Capitals right wing Garnet Hathaway (21) fights Anaheim Ducks center Derek Grant (38) during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Monday, Nov. 18, 2019, in Washington.

    Washington Capitals right wing Garnet Hathaway (21) fights Anaheim Ducks center Derek Grant (38) during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Monday, Nov. 18, 2019, in Washington. Associated Press

  • Washington Capitals right wing Garnet Hathaway (21) scuffles with Anaheim Ducks defenseman Erik Gudbranson, second from left, during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Monday, Nov. 18, 2019, in Washington. Also seen is Capitals center Chandler Stephenson, second from right, and Ducks center Derek Grant (38).

    Washington Capitals right wing Garnet Hathaway (21) scuffles with Anaheim Ducks defenseman Erik Gudbranson, second from left, during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Monday, Nov. 18, 2019, in Washington. Also seen is Capitals center Chandler Stephenson, second from right, and Ducks center Derek Grant (38). Associated Press

  • Washington Capitals right wing Garnet Hathaway (21) fights Anaheim Ducks center Derek Grant (38) during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Monday, Nov. 18, 2019, in Washington.

    Washington Capitals right wing Garnet Hathaway (21) fights Anaheim Ducks center Derek Grant (38) during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Monday, Nov. 18, 2019, in Washington. Associated Press

 
 
Updated 11/19/2019 3:15 PM

ARLINGTON, Va. -- Garnet Hathaway was ejected for spitting on an opponent and now the Washington Capitals winger may have to swallow more punishment from the NHL.


Hathaway was given a match penalty for spitting on Anaheim defenseman Erik Gudbranson in a brawl during the Capitals' 5-2 victory Monday. That carries with it an automatic suspension pending a review by the NHL, and it is likely the Capitals won't have Hathaway in the lineup Wednesday night in New York against the Rangers.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

There is little precedent for Hathaway's actions, other than the part of the rulebook that deems it worthy of an ejection and the league's process of having its hockey operations department review each match penalty. Boston's Brad Marchand was warned during the playoffs last spring about licking opponents but was not suspended.

Hathaway faces a hearing Wednesday.

'œYou never want to sit and leave guys hanging and not be able to help out,' Hathaway said. 'œIt would be unfortunate if I wasn't (playing), but they are a team that can handle themselves and not worried about them in the outcomes of games.'

A day after drawing scorn from Gudbranson and the Ducks and generating buzz for spitting, Hathaway reiterated his remorse about the incident late in the second period.

"I regret doing it,' Hathaway said. 'œI didn't have any arms free and made an emotional decision that I wish I didn't, but right now I am trying to move on from it and there is nothing that I can do but apologize.'

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Hathaway has been a strong addition for the Capitals, putting up two goals and five assists and adding some grit that was missing last season. Now they'll likely have to compensate for his absence for at least a game, if not longer.

'œI don't think anyone needs to step up and be Garnet Hathaway,' forward Travis Boyd said. 'œWe got guys who will do that stuff. Maybe someone has to pick up a little bit of physicality for the night, or someone else has to go out there and get a couple of hits. Ultimately, we'll see what happens with him, and we'll hope to get him back as soon as we can.'

Washington is right up against the $81.5 million salary cap ceiling and has the minimum of 18 healthy skaters on the roster. Because of that, coach Todd Reirden said there would be some roster moves to make sure his team has a full lineup in New York.

'œWe're really trying to find every possible option to stay away from playing short,' Reirden said. 'œThat may happen one day, too, but certainly trying to find every way possible. We want to give ourselves the best chance we can, and that's to have a full complement of players."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Winger Carl Hagelin has missed six games with an undisclosed upper body injury, and center Nic Dowd has missed the past three with a deep cut on his left hand. Hagelin skated in a no-contact jersey Tuesday, while Dowd remains out with an injury Reirden cryptically called 'œa little bit more serious than we anticipated.'

The Capitals could put Hagelin or Dowd on long-term injured list to save cap space, though that would necessitate either player missing a total of 10 games and 24 days.

The Ducks were angry at Hathaway for what they called disrespectful behavior but didn't want to speculate what might happen next.

'œI have no idea,' Gudbranson said. 'œI'll trust the league with that.'

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Follow AP Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SWhyno

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More AP NHL: https://apnews.com/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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