By Allan Muir
Chances are that Devils defenseman Anton Volchenkov has earned a few days off at a time when his floundering team, losers of eight straight, can least afford his absence.
Anton Volchenkov earned a five-minute major and a game misconduct for delivering a vicious elbow to the head of Bruins forward midway through a 5-4 Boston win on Wednesday night.
Of course, the Bruins can't afford to lose their leading goal scorer, either. And that should be clearly addressed by the NHL's Department of Player Safety on Thursday.
It's tough to imagine DOPS watching this video and not burying Volchenkov for this flagrant cheap shot. He didn't just lead with his elbow. He had it up early. Really early. Hard to argue accidental contact here. Add in that Marchand was injured on the play and didn't return to action, and Volchenkov looks cooked.
The only question is how much time he'll miss. Odds are it will be more than Brendan Shanahan's standard two-game sit-down because Volcnhenov would be considered a repeat offender after his three-game suspension in 2011. And if Shanahan and his crew are as committed to eliminating this type of foul as we think they are, this one should clock in at around five games.
Of course, we've been surprised before, so we shouldn't take any suspension for granted until we see it come down from the DOPS. We'll fill you in on updates as they become available.
UPDATE 2: Tom Gulitti confirms that Volchenkov faces a hearing on Thursday, but says no time has been set. He also says that I'm wrong about Volchenkov's repeat offender status because the previous suspension occurred more than 18 months ago. That said, Gulitti believes DOPS will take the previous incident into account because it was for the same infraction.
UPDATE (or not an update)