The Volchenkov Suspension: My Reaction
This season, where so many players have sustained concussions and Rule 48 is all the rage, any contact with the head raises immediate suspicion. In this case, Volchenkov clearly moved his elbow away from the body, making direct contact with Boychuk’s head. While it may not have been purposeful, it looked almost intentional. The punishment, then, fit the crime. The league handed down an appropriate suspension to Volchenkov for the hit.
To fully analyze the hit, let’s look at this video:
The hit is quick, with Boychuk going for a loose puck near the blue line. He went reaching for the puck, which dipped his lower body right into Volchenkov’s elbow. The hit looked gruesome, but Boychuk was able to play the rest of the game.
The Devils’ defenseman believed that, if Boychuk didn’t reach for the puck, he wouldn’t have hit him his head with an elbow.
“If he doesn’t go down, it probably would have maybe maximum that I get him in the chest or the shoulder,” Volchenkov told Tom Gulitti of The Bergen Record. “But (Boychuk) tried to reach and was (leaning) forward and I hit him right in the face.”
Volchenkov could have avoided this by simply adjusting his hit and leading with his shoulder. Yes, he still would have made contact with Boychuk’s head. But using an elbow to separate the man from the puck never works out well. Usually, it’ll lead to a penalty. Using the shoulder to deliver the hit would be the better choice.
The hit looked innocent enough, but we all knew Volchenkov would face some repercussions. Three games seems to be the going rate for these hits. Volchenkov will also forfeit close to $69 thousand in salary for the suspension. While it’ll hurt the Devils, especially in the blocked shot department, the penalty fits the crime.
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