After his late hit on Montreal defenseman Alexei Emelin in last night's game, Alex Burrows has been handed a three game suspension by the NHL. This is the first time Burrows has ever been suspended in his career (although he has been fined by the league four times).
The NHL department of player safety released a video and issued the following explanation for suspending Burrows:
"Thursday night in Vancouver, Canucks forward Alexandre Burrows delivered a late hit to the head of Montreal defenseman Alexei Emelin. As the video shows, Emelin makes a pass up the middle of the ice as Burrows approaches from his right. Nearly one full second after Emelin releases the puck, well after the acceptable time to finish a check, Burrows elevates up and into Emelin with his left shoulder, making Emelin's head the main point of contact. This is both interference and an illegal check to the head. While we acknowledge that Emelin is stopping and off balance, the fact remains that he is not eligible to be hit at this time. In addition, the movement by Emelin is not what causes the head to be the main point of contact. As Emelin is straightening up, Burrows matches his movement by lifting his left leg and lunging upward. This action by Burrows ensures that the main point of contact on the hit is Emelin's head. In short, this hit is so late that it cannot be made at all. Further, with time to avoid the check entirely, Burrows throws a hit that would be an illegal check to the head even if made in a timely manner."
In case you've missed it, here's the hit on Emelin by Burrows:
In short, the league determined that not only did Burrows have ample time to avoid the check entirely (which looks more obvious when you break it down in slow motion rather than full speed as the ref saw it), but that he also lunged up and into Emelin to make contact with his head.
Burrows will be eligible to return next Thursday when the Canucks take on the San Jose Sharks.