NEWARK, N.J. – New Jersey Devils defenceman Anton Volchenkov was suspended for four games by the NHL for elbowing Boston Bruins forward Brad Marchand in the head.
The league announced the suspension Thursday, roughly 12 hours after the second-period hit left Marchand wobbly in the Bruins’ 5-4 win at the Prudential Center. He did not return.
Volchenkov, who had a hearing with the league via telephone on Thursday morning, receiving a 5-minute major and a game misconduct on the play. The suspension will cost him $91,891.88, with the money going to the players’ emergency assistance fund.
Brendan Shanahan, the NHL’s senior vice-president of hockey operations and player safety, said Volchenkov extended his elbow on the play rather than making a full body check.
The timing of the suspension could not be worse for the Devils, who have lost eight straight games (0-4-4) and are in danger of missing the playoffs with eight games left in the regular season.
The suspension could put them down two defencemen.
Team captain Bryce Salvador was hit on the wrist by a shot by Bruins defenceman Zdeno Chara, who has one of the hardest shots in the league. X-rays on the wrist were negative on Thursday but coach Peter DeBoer said that Salvador has a significant bruise and his status will be day to day.
The Devils will face the Ottawa Senators here on Friday night. If Salvador can’t go, New Jersey has Peter Harrold and Adam Larsson on the current 25-man roster.
Larsson could not play on Wednesday because he was hit in the right foot in practice on Tuesday by a shot by, of course, Volchenkov.
The 31-year-old Volchenkov appeared resigned to being suspended after skating with nine other players on Thursday morning, noting hits in the head tend to lead to suspensions.
“The game is so quick,” Volchenkov said. “It’s a bad situation. I don’t really try to hit him in the head.”
Volchenkov was suspended for three games in February 2011 for elbowing Carolina’s Zach Boychuk in the head. He called that hit an accident, saying his elbow would have hit Boychuk in the chest had he not been leaning forward.