Ottawa Senators defenseman Jared Cowen needs a time out.
His elbow that concussed Pavel Datsyuk last month was seen by the NHL Department of Player Safety as “a natural reflex for a defenseman” and not a “predator-like elbow.” Essentially, they gave Cowen the benefit of the doubt on a play that injured one of the Red Wings’ star players.
Cowen squandered that reprieve on Tuesday night against the Buffalo Sabres, with a head shot on Buffalo Sabres center Zemgus Girgensons in the third period. Girgensons remained in the game, and there wasn’t a penalty, but Cowen has a Department of Player Safety hearing on Wednesday for this hit (found at 1:15 of the following video, via Kukla’s Korner):
No question that the head is the principle point of contact there.
Meanwhile, the NHL will also have a hearing for Richard Panik of the Tampa Bay Lightning, for crushing Washington Capitals defenseman Karl Alzner along the boards in the Caps’ shootout win. He was given a 5-minute major:
Rather blatant, rather reckless, given Alzner’s distance from the boards.
We’d expect this one to earn Panik two games, as that’s been the going rate for boarding calls. As for Cowen, no less than three games would be a surprise, given the warning we imagine he received after the Datsyuk “reflex.”