The incident was startlingly similar to the unpenalized Brandon Prust hit on Derek Stepan in Game Three of the Eastern Conference final against the New York Rangers last May. Stepan suffered a broken jaw and in supplementary discipline Prust was suspended two games..
Stephane Quintal will have a telephone conversation with Vancouver Canucks forward Alexandre Burrows and decide whether his check on the Canadiens Alexei Emelin is also worthy of suspension.
The fact that it’s a phone conversation and not an in-person hearing means any action taken by Quintal and the NHL’s Office of Player Safety will amount to something less than a five game suspension.
Beyond the game’s referees Ian Walsh and Brian Pochmara, who were blind to or chose to ignore the incident, most neutral observers believe the principal point of contact was Emelin’s head. (See video below) Whether the contact was accidental or not has become beside-the-point in the view of the league.
Like the Prust incident (video also below), the hit came long after Emelin had made his pass. Outside of the headshot, referees would have been right to penalze Burrows for interference. Emelin spent the rest of the second period in the Canadiens dressing room under the NHL concussion protocol, but was on the ice for the game’s third period.
This is not Burrows first brush with the Office of Player Safety, and that might also factor into any decision made by Quintal and his office. Last April Burrows was tossed from a game against the Rangers after delivering an elbow to the head of Ranger defenseman Ryan McDonagh. At the time the league decided no supplementary action should be taken. (That video also below)
VIDEO – BURROWS/EMELIN
BRANDON PRUST HIT ON DEREK STEPAN May 22, 2014
BURROWS HITS McDONAGH INTO GLASS April, 1, 2014