While it didn’t rate as even a two-minute penalty on Tuesday night, the NHL Department of Player Safety has suspended Ottawa Senators defenseman Mark Borowiecki for one game for his cheap shot elbow to Bruins rookie Urho Vaakanainen.
Ottawa’s Mark Borowiecki suspended one game for elbowing Boston’s Urho Vaakanainen. https://t.co/ntUEOIbwjq— NHL Player Safety (@NHLPlayerSafety) October 24, 2018
It was a play in the first period of Boston’s 4-1 win over the Senators at the Canadian Tire Center where Patrice Bergeron was hauled down with a puck in front of the net. In the ensuing scrum, Borowiecki clobbered an unsuspecting Vaakanainen with an elbow to the head as he skated toward the net. It looked both premeditated and reckless after viewing the incident on replays, and it knocked Vaakanainen out of the game in the second period with a concussion.
In the video posted to explain the ruling, the Department of Player Safety explained, "While we accept Borowiecki's argument that he was not aiming for Vaakanainen's head and only trying to defend his crease, Borowiecki is still responsible for the fact that he recklessly delivered a blow to the head of his opponent with sufficient force to cause an injury."
The suspension makes up for the on-ice officials missing the play when it happened on Tuesday night, but it won’t make it up to a Bruins team that’s now missing Vaakanainen, Charlie McAvoy, Kevan Miller and Torey Krug from their back end due to injuries.
It’s a shame that the 19-year-old Vaakanainen -- who had a real chance to establish himself, given some of the other injuries to Boston’s D-men corps -- will be out of commission. Borowiecki has been suspended once previously by the NHL for a hit-from-behind on Tyler Toffoli during the 2016-17 season, but has always been a player that’s flirted with crossing over the line with his physicality during his NHL career.
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