Jay Beagle saw it right from the bench. Calgary Flames forward Rene Bourque lifted his right elbow up into Nicklas Backstrom’s head, getting a deserved penalty on the play.
“It was uncalled for. Obviously it was an elbow, a cheap shot,” said Beagle, who returned from a concussion last week. “It could’ve resulted in a serious injury. It’s uncalled for.”
Captain Alex Ovechkin tried to argue for more of a penalty.
“It was head shot; it was kind of on purpose,” Ovechkin said. “And I tell the referee like, ‘He goes like straight in the face with an elbow so why give him only two minutes?’ He just said Nicky was fine and he keep playing. I don’t know. We’ll see how it goes.”
Backstrom remained in the game for three more shifts and no Caps player took retribution for the elbow, likely because many did not see it. That was why Troy Brouwer didn’t do anything, though from hearing about the incident he was not happy.
“It’s one of those things where it kind of sucks because we’re not able to play them again this year,” Brouwer said.
Brouwer and Bourque were teammates with the Chicago Blackhawks, but the Caps forward also saw Bourque get suspended last month for injuring Brent Seabrook on a dirty hit.
“He’s got a little edge to him. Sometimes he crosses the line. He’s been suspended once this year already and once last year,” Brouwer said. “Just from knowing him from playing when he was with Chicago, he’s got that little bit of an attitude to him as well. He plays a hard game and it’s just the style of it.”
Fellow Swede Marcus Johansson also admitted not having seen the hit yet but was judging by the pace of the game and the puck being away from the play when Bourque connected with the elbow.
“I just think it’s very unnecessary to do at that point of the game,” Johansson said.
Coach Dale Hunter did see film of the elbow after conceding following the 3-1 victory over the Flames that he hadn’t.
“It was an elbow. I think we’ve all seen it. It was pretty obvious,” Hunter said. “It’s an elbow. You can’t have your elbow up.”
As for a possible suspension, Hunter noted that “It’s not my call; it’s the league’s call. But definitely they’ll be looking at it.”
Bourque had a phone hearing with NHL VP of player safety Brendan Shanahan earlier Wednesday, and a decision on a suspension was likely coming in the late afternoon or early evening. The Flames play at the Boston Bruins on Thursday night, so a ruling must come before that.