Sharks defenseman Brad Stuart was suspended for three games by the NHL on Wednesday for an illegal check to the head of Rick Nash in Tuesday's game against the New York Rangers.

If Stuart does not appeal the suspension he will not be back for the Sharks until the Oct. 17 game at Dallas missing Thursday's game at Vancouver Saturday's home game against Ottawa and Tuesday's game at St. Louis.

Under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement Stuart who had his hearing with the NHL on Wednesday after the Sharks practiced loses $55384.62 based on his annual average salary for the suspension. The money goes to the Players' Emergency Assistance Fund.

Early in the first period shortly after Nash cleared the puck out of the Rangers' end Stuart hit Nash from the side with his left shoulder making contact with Nash's head and chest. In his video explanation Brendan Shanahan the NHL's senior vice president of player safety said Stuart did not charge Nash and did not extend his elbow or forearm.

But Shanahan said Stuart "unnecessarily extends the left side of his body upward specifically his left shoulder in a way that makes Nash's head the main point of contact causing an injury" a violation of Rule 48.

"I just stepped up and hit the guy" Stuart said Wednesday before the hearing. "I've seen the replay. I didn't leave my feet I didn't target the head. So it depends on how they want to look at it I guess. Apparently (Nash) has a concussion so we'll see."

Nash played a few more shifts in the first period but did not return for the second and third periods.

"I have a headache" Nash told reporters after Tuesday's game. "It got worse. It was a head shot. I'm concerned the way it feels."