Ottawa Senators forward Alex Burrows was suspended 10 games for a kneeing incident against New Jersey Devils winger Taylor Hall that the National Hockey League Department of Player Safety called a “dangerous and unjustifiable attack.”
Burrows was assessed with minor penalties for cross-checking and roughing Hall with 10 minute, 2 seconds of the second period of Tuesday night’s 5-3 home win over the Devils. During the sequence, he hacked Hall with this stick, punched him in the head while standing next to him, dragged him to the ice in a headlock and delivered a few more punches.
After the linesmen wrapped up the players in the ice, Burrows raised his leg in the air and dropped his knee into the back of Hall’s head twice.
Burrows, 36, claimed he was trying to pry himself from the pile.
“We heard Burrows’ argument that the knees he delivered to Hall’s head resulted from his attempt to free his arm from a compromising position,” the Department of Player Safety said in a video. “We do not agree with his interpretation, nor would we excuse repeated knees to an opponent’s head for that reason.”
Burrows has been suspended once before by the NHL, for an illegal check to the head of Alexei Emelin in October 2014 that cost him three games, and he has been fined five times previously in his 893-game NHL career. Under the terms of the collective bargaining agreement, and based on his average annual salary, Burrows will forfeit $134,408.60.
Since the suspension is greater than five games, the Ottawa forward has the right to appeal the suspension to NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and then to a neutral arbitrator.
This suspension matches the longest of the season in the NHL. Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Radko Gudas was suspended for 10 games after slashing the neck of Winnipeg’s Mathieu Perreault in November, and Detroit Red Wings defenseman Luke Witkowski was suspended 10 games for returning to the ice for an altercation, also in November.