The word came down earlier that Donald Brashear will be suspended one game for his pregame antics, and five for his hit on Blair Betts.
The one game is basically an "our bad" by the league as it was their fault that he wasn't caught until they saw it on the news after the game. Even if Brash had been properly removed, had Colton Orr been playing you can be sure Brash wouldn't have just gone after any Ranger jersey and instead gone looking to get retribution against the guy who has handed him his lunch before. Or, more likely, gone after the guy who's job would have been to be around him and keep him in line.
Regardless, Brashear made the hit and he has to pay the piper to the tune of five games for it. There are several ways that you have to look at it. Brashear is a prior offender who often attempts to injure his opponents. He is not a skill player, his lone job is to play enforcer for a guy who doesn't need a bodyguard so he doesn't even play night in and night out. (Colton Orr did play every game, until Tortorella's Game 6 folly but we won't go there.)
Chris Simon was a prior offender and a useless goon who 'lost his mind' and hit the first person he saw. Ryan Hollweg took some stitches and was able to play, while Bettsy is done for the year (and perhaps has played his last game as a Ranger, given Sather's stupidity). So you can say that what Brashear did was comparable to, if not worse than, what Simon did and he got a lesser sentence.
The other Chris - Pronger - was also a regular offender and he unleashed a clearer, more vicious elbow at the head of Dean McCammond. That hit was in the playoffs and Pronger got one game for it. At the time they said the length was because of the gravity of the lost game - a Stanley Cup Final. This incident was in the opening round and it was done by someone who wasn't as important to his team and not a superstar. So six games for Brashear seems on the money in comparison to that.
But the final verdict is that you can't compare the events. Puck Daddy believes that the league got it right and that it is a fair ruling because it essentially knocks the role player out for a full series. I personally disagree as it put a player's livelihood at risk with an intentional high hit. If someone decides to play Tim "Dr. Hook" McCracken and chops at a head, you can believe that there will be more than a six game suspension. How is this any different? An intent to injure is an intent to injure. Brashear got hit and he wanted to lash out and hurt someone. And he did.
There has never been a clear-cut ruling to base future events upon. Politics, profile and the personal opinion of the judge all play into the equation. Considering that the track record of said judge is quite dubious, perhaps it is time for a new judge? As that isn't likely to happen, what will occur is that the Caps will get their captain back in the lineup, the Rangers lost their top penalty killer and likely the series and the NHL could very well get the dream matchup of Crosby v. Ovie. I don't subscribe to the conspiracy theory that this was intended from the start - there is still a little integrity left in the front office ... somewhere - but I certainly don't think the league minds.