Vancouver Canucks forward Alexandre Burrows has been suspended three games by the National Hockey League’s Department of Player Safety for his late and illegal check to the head of Montreal Canadiens defenceman Alexei Emelin.
The incident took place at 8:23 of the second period of Thursday’s game.
Burrows will cough up some $72,580.65 of his salary to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund as per the terms of the collective bargaining agreement. He’ll be eligible to return to play on November 6 when his Canucks take on the San Jose Sharks.
There was no penalty on the initial play on Thursday night and Nick Bonino actually scored a goal for Vancouver at the other end of the ice following the incident. Emelin didn’t return for the rest of the second period, but he was back on the ice for the final frame.
“We all saw the hit to the head on Emelin and instead of having a power play of five minutes the puck is in your own net,” said Montreal head coach Michel Therrien. “That was a dirty hit to the head.”
“I was trying to finish my check and my intent was not to hurt him,” Burrows said. “Obviously you never want to hurt someone and I’m glad he came back. I’m not going to speculate on what people are going to say. My intent was not to hurt him.”
Clearly the Department of Player Safety had other things in mind. The hit, according to their video, came a full second after Emelin dished the puck and was high.
Burrows, perhaps surprisingly considering how he plays on the edge, has never been suspended in the NHL or AHL even after 800 games.
Now the Canucks will need to slip a new winger into the top six. The plan for now looks to point toward either Zack Kassian or Linden Vey. There’s also Bo Horvat, who could factor into plans depending on how coach Willie Desjardins aims to shuffle the deck.
The Canucks face off against the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday night.