Anton Volchenkov prides himself on playing a clean game. The elbow he delivered to the head of Zach Boychuk on Tuesday wasn’t intentional, but it will cost him.
The League announced Wednesday that Volchenkov has been suspended three games for the hit. It occurred in the second period of the Devils’ 3-2 overtime victory over Carolina. Volchenkov received a minor for elbowing.
“Sometimes situations are so quick, so fast. It’s just an accident, a bad accident for both of us,” Volchenkov said after practicing with the team Wednesday afternoon. “I’m suspended now for three games.”
Boychuk was reaching for the puck when the play happened.
“If he didn’t go down, it would probably be maximum the chest or shoulder,” Volchenkov said. “But [Boychuk] tried reaching.”
Volchenkov will not travel to Toronto for Thursday’s game against the Maple Leafs. He’s eligible to return on Feb. 18 against the Rangers.
“I know the rules. It’s not the first year,” he said. “There’s been rules for a long time. I always try to play clean, clean hits.”
At a plus-2, Volchenkov is tied with Mark Fraser for the lead among Devils defensemen. It’s not a good thing having him out of the lineup.
“No, it’s not,” said head coach Jacques Lemaire.
This is the first career suspension for Volchenkov, one of the hardest hitters in the game.
“While he has not been involved in a supplemental discipline incident previously and it is fortunate that his opponent returned to play in the game, Volchenkov delivered an illegal blow to the head,” said NHL Senior Executive Vice President of Hockey Operations Colin Campbell.