Brendan Shanahan explained the five-game suspension handed down to Calgary Flames forward Rene Bourque for his elbow to the head of Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom in a video released by the NHL on Wednesday evening. Here is a transcript of that video:
“At 10:06 of the third period, Calgary forward Rene Bourque delivered an elbow to the head of Washington forward Nicklas Backstrom As the video shows, Backstrom is carrying the puck up the middle of the ice. As Bourque pivots and pursues Backstrom, Bacsktrom make a pass to linemate Mike Knuble on his right.
“Bourque continues his path and throws an elbow, making principal point of contact with Backstrom’s jaw. This is a hit to the head in a clear violation of Rule 48, an illegal check to the head, which states:
A hit resulting in contact with an opponent’s head, where the head is targeted and the principal point of contact, is not permitted.
“When we look at the events of this game, we believe Bourque’s assertion that this was an instinctive reflex rather than a premeditated intent to injure. However, as all of the parties in the hearing agreed: This reckless elbow to the head is indefensible.
“It is important to note that just 16 days ago Bourque was suspended for two games for checking from behind. We also have taken into consider that although Backstrom temporarily remained in the game, he eventually removed himself after his condition worsened.
“To summarize, this was an illegal hit to the head on which the head was recklessly targeted. Backstrom temporarily remained in the game but eventually removed himself after his condition worsened. Bourque is considered a repeat offender having been suspended only 16 days ago. The department of player safety has decided to suspend Rene Bourque for five games.”
The full video is below: