Update: Anton Volchenkov got four.


Yesterday I tweeted this:

So here we are today.

Anton Volchenkov has a phone hearing today after his elbow to Brad Marchand, so hey, let’s talk about it.

The facts:

The Boston Bruins win the faceoff and dump the puck in. It wraps around to Brad Marchand (just as their team drew that up, I’d like to add, but this shouldn’t be under “facts,” because I’m assuming. Ahem), who is going to be the first Bruin on the puck. Devils’ defenseman sees this, and goes to lay a hit on Marchand as the puck comes around. Marchand sees that coming, and starts to pull away from the hit to avoid getting smunched. Volchenkov carries on up-and-through with his elbow, catching Marchand in the brain-holder. Marchand left the game and did not return.

My opinion:

Tough to call that anything but a suspendable play, so let’s just get that out of the way. I’ve seen worse, but when a guy sees a hit coming and is actively trying to avoid the contact and a guy goes out of his way to make sure he still inflicts some pain, he should be in some trouble. I think he’s looking at 2-3 games in the press box.

Your opinion:

In the comments, we’d love to hear if you think this was a malicious play, a hockey play, or something totally different. The caveat: as always with “Court of Public Opinion” posts, you have to honestly list your favourite team (I have no dog in the fight as an Isles guy). That doesn’t mean if you’re a Bruins fan and you think it was vicious and terrible that your opinion will be immediately discounted. I just think it helps with context.

Comments (77)

  1. Bruins fan here. I’d say it would look like 2 games if this is a first time incident. I know Volchenkov has been suspended before, but I’m not sure if that has rolled off his ledger after enough time has passed. If it counts as a repeat offender, then I’d say 4-5 games.

  2. Almost impossible to feel bad for Marchand, but 2-3 games? I mean…Volchenkov LEADS WITH HIS ELBOW. You can’t find a better evidence of intent…and the League thinks its worth less than 5 games? What more do we need to get people to start saying that this stuff is worth *long* suspensions.

    NYR fan. Hater of hits to the head.

  3. Spin the wheel of justice! Survey says: Dirty!

  4. Bruins fan, and I’m fairly certain that the A-Train should be drawn and quartered. It’s only fair.

  5. I’m a Bruins fan. Like always, it’s impossible to prove intent. I know Marchand isn’t the most popular guy around the league but you can’t assume Volchenkov wanted to elbow him in the head just because it’s Marchand. I agree with you, I’ve seen worse. I’d be happy with 1-2 games.

  6. I’d like to cosign Dave’s idea on the repeat offender if it’s within the time frame the NHL allows.

  7. Isles fan. While it wouldn’t fit the repeat offender rule for salary loss/fine purposes I do believe they will take his 3 game suspension from two years ago for an elbow in to account. Being that he got 3 last time I say he gets 4. I really don’t think there is any argument about it being suspendable. The only thing I could see keeping the number of games down is the ‘shorter season, shorter suspension’ reasoning,

  8. Oilers fan, from the Halifax area so I’m a bit of a Marchand fan.

    I know people don’t like Marchand but that shouldn’t change how they view the hit. I think it should be 5+ games but the NHL will probably hit him with 2-3 games.

  9. For the people saying “ive seen worse”….would you feel the same if he had hit Marchand more squarely?

  10. Blackhawks fan. The bottom line is the play is suspendable for the elbow to the head. 2-3 games sounds about right since Marchand didn’t immediately go down. To me…Volchenkov wanted his elbow to contact with something on Marchand ala Duncan Keith on Sedin. While Volchenkov may not have put his elbow out because it was Marchand…he intentionally lead with the elbow so it becomes a reckless/avoidable contact.

    • Is it kosher of me to talk about the reaction of players getting hit in the head these days? Does it seem like a new thing for anyone else for players to go “Oh, hey, I just got hit in the head, so I better lay down here and make sure everyone knows so we get a major.” In the past, it seemed like the thing to do was get off the ice.

      Not calling him soft or anything like that. I’d cry like a baby if Anton elbowed me. Just noting an apparent change in behavior.

  11. As per a tweet from one of the Devil’s beat reporters, Anton’s last suspension was over 18 months ago, making him a non-repeat offender in technical terms. However, that suspension was for elbowing, so make of that what you will.

    Anton like hitting people. I think, to me, this is one of those “Oh shit I’m going to miss this guy I better stick something out and get a piece of him” hits. Unfortunately, he stuck out an elbow, and unfortunately, he’s a big guy and caught Marchand in his head. Perceived lack of intent aside, the result alone is worth a few games. Players have to realize stuff like this can’t happen, intentional or not.

    Devils fan here, btw.

    • I agree that it was more of an attempt not to completely miss on the hit to try to make some contact. I remember McQuaid sticking a leg out last year on a play where he was going to miss the hit (Foligno on Columbus?). I was shocked he didn’t get a couple of games for that.

  12. Habs Fan. One word… “Karma”.

  13. Good use of “smunched”

  14. Leafs fan, hate Marchand (probably grounds for my opinion to be immediately discounted). It’s a suspension. But I can’t help hear that voice echoing in the back of my head: “I was trying to draw five.” Hey, it worked!

    It’s the same sort of hit as you see with Duncan Keith on Sedin. He wants to finish a check, sees he’s going to miss, instinctively extends his elbow. He knows right away he messed up. The Keith hit, in my opinion, is worse, and that was 5 games in an 82 game season. 2 should be right.

  15. 3 games. Head was the principle point of contact. It didn’t look malicious but a suspension none the less. No dog in this fight. Blackhawks fan.

  16. Flames fan. Karma is a bitch. 5 games

  17. first off, I’m a hockey fan; but someone should give Volchenkov a medal for taking out the trash.

  18. Bruins fan…love Marchand.
    Length. Of season should be non-factor.

  19. Sabres fan – 2-3 games sounds right. I can see how it was accidental especially by the reaction, but the elbow shouldn’t have been coming up in the first place. His reaction and the Devils in the hunt probably keeps the # to 1 though

  20. Rangers fan here…
    3 games sounds about right since he’s not considered a repeat offender. No doubt, it was reckless. He kind of launches himself at Marchand a bit. He doesn’t full out go crazy with the elbow though.

  21. Bruins fan…I’m thinking three games, would be shocked to see more and not-so-shocked to see less.

  22. Rangers fan
    3-4 games. Shanny likes to tack on extras for those “repeat offender” types, even if he’s not officially a repeater. Crazy that guys will still go out of their way to try to take a guys head off. Haven’t guys other than Vlasic learned that it’s much easier to just chop him down with your stick?

  23. If it were anyone other than Brat “the Diver” Marchand I’d call it suspendable for sure. But seeing as who got hit, he’s got to be faking it to draw a lengthier penalty. As Dr. Recchi would say, he probably faking the concussion. Especially Marchand, who is a KNOWN diver ( and whiner, coward, lowlife cheap shot artist and all-around piece of sh*t)
    Personally I hope he never plays hockey again.
    Karma is a bitch

  24. Bad play by Volchenkov for sure. I’d say he probably gets 3 games, as he should.

    But for everyone saying Shannaban will add weight to the fact he has done this before even though he is not technically a repeat offender, do you think he’ll add some weight to the fact Marchand is an established diver? Obviously if he has a concussion, that’s terrible, given that Bergeron is out with one as well. But if he plays their next game… His” boy-who-cried-wolf” status will be cemented.

    Devils fan. Progressively more depressed as each days goes by.

  25. Habs fan. I don’t really think there’s an argument about wether it’s a suspendable play or not. I hate Marchand but that’s at least 2 probably 3-4 games. Wouldn’t be surprised to see Marchand play tonight though…

  26. Bruins fan, 2 games as a reminder to keep your damn elbows down.

  27. Well, Jason, this has been the most exciting Court of Public Opinion yet. Glad all of our views are totally different. Your tweet is still true, there seems to be no debate here.

    • Leafs fan, and I’m of two minds:

      First, I loathe hits to the head. If it wasn’t a malicious hit, it wasa reckless and stupid hit. Its hard to say “I didn’t mean to” when you react by raising your elbow to follow his moving body and especially his head. Personally I would give him 10 games, but I doubt he’ll get that long.

      Second, because its Marchand that he hits I would give him 10 games and a medal of honour. Fuck Marchand.

  28. Isles fan. I think he should get four. The length of the schedule shouldn’t be a factor at all – is Marchand going to heal faster because the season is shorter?

    And yeah… Marchand. The chances are slim-to-none of his getting the point even as it’s pounded directly into his braincase. Regardless, nobody deserves this sort of thing, and THAT’S the point he should realize before he submarines or headhunts anyone.

  29. Canucks fan. 3-4 games. Not as severe as Keith on Sedin, but far more malicious than Edler’s bump on Mike Smith. Either Shanny’s serious on headshots or he’s not. I think what we’ve learned is that the Wheel of Justice really is an apt description. Even the most no-brainer (no pun intended) of calls could get nothing. Best to just expect the unexpected and avoid disappointment.

  30. Leafs fan.

    Who leads with their elbow and lets the puck go right by? 5+. Shanahan might just say the rest of the season.

  31. I’m shocked and appalled that no one has uttered the E word yet. So I will.

    Embellishment. No surprise, considering his team.

    I mean, it’s not about tonight; it’s about the game and the embellishment embarrasses our game. We need to be better than that. It’s pretty obvious when Marchand gets hit and throws himself into the glass and holds his head. You know what? If we start calling those penalties for embellishment, maybe teams stop doing it. But until we take charge of that, it’s going to be an issue.

    Anyway, Habs fan, hate Marchand too much to care if Volchenkov gets suspended.


      Habs fan whining about embellishment….


      Can’t make this stuff up!


    • So the embellishment master plan here was to get Volchenkov out of the game by faking an injury on an illegal hit, with the Bruins leading goal scorer also missing the rest of the game just for the sake of keeping up the appearance of injury? If he misses a mandatory week with an “upper body injury”, is that part of the master plan too?

      • Note to Dave: you can’t carry on an intelligent converstaion with someone who isn’t.

      • Look, for every Habs fan laughing at Marchand getting elbowed, there were three Boston fans laughing at Pacioretty. One might have suffered a concussion, but the other could very well have died (broken necks and massive head trauma can do that, after all). Add in Dr. Recchi’s comments, and the lack of suspension or fine for anything there, and you’ll end up with fairly strong opinions regarding the health of Boston players (with the exception of Bergeron, he’s cool).

        Furthermore, I think you should look at the text. The big paragraph was a direct quote from Claude Julien, simply changing Subban for Marchand. And the simple fact is that Marchand is as big, if not bigger, diver than Subban. If it’s good for the goose, it’s good for the gander.

        Am I being classy? No, of course not. But I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a classy Bruins fan.

        • Like I said, Marchand does embellish. That had nothing to do with him being intentionally injured. The reaction of the fans has nothing to do with him being intentionally injured. If Subban were injured intentionally by a dirty hit I’d hope no one would say “well he embellishes a lot and annoys us.” Who cares? The NHL needs to take these dirty hits out of the game 100%.

          Btw, Marchand was diagnosed with a concussion. Your making an argument about issues that have nothing to do with what happened. True or not. Doesn’t matter.

        • Let it go, dude.

    • Hate a player or not. No one deserves to be intentionally injured. Marchand has embellished in the past, and still does, but he missed tonight’s game and if you watch the replay he didn’t even try embellishing. He was clearly hurt. I don’t care how badly I hate a player, I would never feel good about them being injured like this. Chris Neil is probably my most hated player in the league, but I don’t want him getting hurt.

      As a side it is pretty funny to see a Habs fan talk about embellishment when you cheer on PK Subban every night. Good stuff.

  32. Isles fan here. What? no Marchand in the line-up tonight? Awesome. Anyway, I digress.

    The 18 month “rule” for repeat offender status does not seem to apply this season, as the Department of Player Safety has looked into the past further than that in previous rulings / videos. In my Magic 8 Ball, I see a 3 game suspension. It wasn’t necessary to “hit” Marchand with an elbow. Drrrrty!

  33. Wow – what class demonstrated by Habs fans here! Mike, Kevin Smith, you cover yourselves and your favorite organiztion with glory!


    • Saying (not) after your own comment should be a suspension lol I liked seeing that lil rat coward get hit like that

  34. Caps fan here.

    Ordinarily, we’d be looking at 3 games, same as Erskine got when he popped Simmonds in the face with an elbow. Same sort of “Oh, crap, I’m gonna get beat” reaction, same result.

    However, we have to apply the discount factors:

    1) Marchand is a known little fake-artist. Minus one game.

    2) It’s the stretch run, and Old Time Hockey guys like Shanny want to let the boys decide it on the ice. Minus one game.

    3) Volch got 5 and 10 within the game, so he didn’t get away scot-free. Minus one game.

    Call it a fine of $2500 bucks and a hearty round of thanks from the other players around the League.

  35. Leafs fan. Dirty hit, sure, but malicious? That’s a big word. Three games for the extended elbow, and Marchand gets a daytime Emmy for a little embellishment – unless he comes out with more of a neck injury than a concussion – looked like the elbow hit a bit lower than the noggin.

    However if he is broken, leave him by the curb. We’ll come by to pick him up before the playoffs.

    • BIG WORD?
      Not surprising a Leafs fan has trouble with polysyllabic concepts.
      Still…accusing Marchand of embellishing a concussion puts this guy at the bottom of even THAT gene pool.

      • Sorry if I offended you. At the moment I wrote that I had not seen the news of a confirmed concussion. The replay looked like the brunt of the blow struck him on the neck. And Marchand is a known “embellisher”. I took some umbrance at the tone of your message but then I read your handle and I realized “he truly is a seer, maybe a savant but deadly accurate…”

  36. ‘nucks fan. and yes should definitely be suspended. guessing 3 games, but hey it could be 5 it could be no suspension, who knows with the NHL’s supplementary discipline program?

  37. I would say Anton will get 5. Rick Nash would get 0 for the exact same hit

  38. Lifelong Bruins fan here in Montreal.
    I’d like to see justice done in these situations…Little Ball of Hate or no.
    If you deliberately target a players head (and it’s worth noting that from Sidney Crosby to Marc Savard it’s so often a team’s BEST players that get brutalized)
    You should sit AS LONG as that player is out. Salary for those games confiscated and donated to head trauma research etc.
    Concussions and other injuries can set a team back…even damage their chances in the standings and going into the playoffs. The ONLY WAY to deter goons like Volchenkov (and those who encourage them) is to make it clear that it he/they take down another player he and his team suffer a punishment that suits the crime.
    I can’t see how it’s fair that so many players lose months to this kind of injury and the offending party gets a maximum of a few games suspension.
    Where’s the justice in that?

    • The problem with sitting out the number of games the injured player does is that it creates an incentive for teams to hold out the injured player, esp. when the injured player isn’t one of the top players on the team but the offending player is. Imagine if someone like a Toews or a Giroux hit an AHL call-up on a division foe – that player is going to be held out until he’s 100% (or even after that point) just to keep the star player off the ice.

    • Characterizing Vulchy as a goon because of 1 bad hit is kind of like characterizing a certain other player a goon for turnbuckling an opponent.

      Just sayin’.

  39. Canucks fan. That’s a dirty hit, should get 5 games. You could tell it was serious because Marchand didn’t immediately drop to the ice to try to draw the penalty.

  40. Whoever had 4 games is a winner!

  41. Just want to say thanks to everyone for their civil comments and good opinions. Makes for good conversation rather than, y’know, other internet places where people just yell at each other.

  42. Bruins fan here. 2 games tops but I’ll take more. I am by far, more concerned about Henrique’s cheap shot on Krejci. That had career-ender written all over it. Never thought I’d see Jersey stoop to that level but I guess when your not playing good hockey that’s your best option.

  43. Habs fan here.
    Hate Marchand – but that’s definitely still a suspension.
    Probably something in the 2-3 game range, but given the consistency we’ve come to expect with these things (ha!) … you never know.

  44. Habs fan

    He’ll probably get two games. However, if Volchenko had been wearing a Bruins’ jersey instead, he would only have had to talk on the phone and have a finger waived at him

  45. Habs fan.

    How do you tell when Marchand is embellishing ?When he is wearing skates !

    Kidding aside, there is no embellishing there. It’s a suspendable play, like most I would have said 2-3 games. But since he is a Bruin, it’s 4 games as we now know. Fanily contacts in league headquarters have to count for something.

  46. As someone who is not able to lace up skates for a year due to a dirty men’s league play against me, I have 0 tolerance for anyone doing anything remotely this dirty. His elbows should never have been that high. That’s a potentially career ending play. I’d suspend him the rest of the season. The NHL has to remove this crap. In any other major league sport, that sort of play would end the offenders season. In the NHL he gets 4 games. It’s total crap.

  47. Marchand was diagnosed with a concussion tonight. That’s not embellishment as much as we hate or don’t hate the player.

  48. I am a bruins fan, when I was watching this in full speed I didn’t really notice that much besides the fact that Marchand went down. In slow motion it does look pretty bad and looked almost intentional the way he brought his elbow up. The devils player should be out for a couple games.

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