Being an elbow to the head necessitated a two-minute minor penalty for Calgary Flames forward Rene Bourque. Nicklas Backstrom’s jaw took the contact, and though the Washington Capitals star stayed in the game, he eventually was removed from Tuesday night’s game.
Backstrom’s condition will be determined, with the Caps hoping the guy who has been their best player all season doesn’t have to miss any time. Bourque almost certainly will miss time, but because of suspension.
Bourque is facing a hearing with NHL vice president of player safety Brendan Shanahan Wednesday morning, a league spokesman confirmed, and could be in line for a significant ban. He was suspended two games late last month for a hit on Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook, and is a repeat offender.
Consider also that Backstrom’s head was the principle point of contact and that Backstrom did nothing to move his head into the path of Bourque’s elbow. Bourque, in fact, appeared to lift his elbow up to strike Backstrom in the head. Backstrom having to leave the game later in the third period doesn’t help Bourque’s cause.
“Did it look really bad? Was he hurt? I didn’t even know if I clipped him,” Bourque said after the Flames’ 3-1 loss to the Caps. “I didn’t even know if I hit him in the head.”
Shanahan must render a decision on a Bourque suspension before Thursday night, when the Flames finish off a road trip at the Boston Bruins.
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