The NHL has suspended Ottawa Senators’ defender Mark Borowiecki for one game following an illegal elbow to the head of Boston Bruins’ rookie defender Urho Vaakanainen. Borowiecki has a history of questionable plays in his career but due to a lack of suspensions, he is not deemed a repeat offender by the NHL’s Department of Player Safety standards.
Ottawa’s Mark Borowiecki suspended one game for elbowing Boston’s Urho Vaakanainen. https://t.co/ntUEOIbwjq
— NHL Player Safety (@NHLPlayerSafety) October 24, 2018
Borowiecki has played in a total of 277 career games in his NHL career and has recorded seven goals and 28 points in that time. This play came only two days after Borowiecki had the following to say about a hit he received from Canadiens’ forward Brendan Gallagher:
“I think you’ve got to make sure guys aren’t taking liberties on certain players because of who they are and because they’re strong,” Borowiecki said Monday after stating Gallagher hit him in his skull. “That was a hit I don’t like and I wasn’t happy about it. I told Gallagher I thought it was a dangerous hit.
Vaakanainen was forced to leave the game with a concussion. It was only the second game of his career as the 19-year-old was drafted in the first round in 2017 by the Bruins and spent the 2017-18 season in the Finnish Elite League.
Below is the video that the NHL has released detailing the play and the punishment followed by a transcript of the video.
Transcript From the Video
Tuesday night in Ottawa, Senators defenseman Mark Borowiecki delivered a blow to the head of Bruins’ defenseman Urho Vaakanainen.
As the video shows, Bruins’ defenseman Steven Kampfer takes a shot on goal. With the rebound loose in the crease, players from both teams converge around the net to battle for the loose puck. Borowiecki moves to the front to defend his crease as Vaakanainen pinches down from the blue line. As Vaakanainen approaches the crease, Borowiecki raises his elbow and delivers a blow to the head of Vaakanainen with his forearm. This is elbowing.
The area around the front of the net is the site of near-constant battles between offensive and defensive players. The posture and sudden movements by players attempting to create scoring chance soften cause defenders sticks, arms or gloves to ride up accidentally and make contact with an opponents head.
Usually, such plays can be sufficiently penalized by the on-ice officials or through the levying of a fine. On this play, Vaakanainen approaches the crease with speed as he hunts for a loose puck. The flat-footed Borowiecki sees him and raises his arm in an attempt to box out the approaching attacker. This motion results in Borowiecki’s forearm making sharp contact with Vaakanainen’s head, knocking him backward to the ice.
While we accept Borowiecki’s argument that he was not aiming for Vaakanainen’s head and only trying to defend his crease, Borowiecki is still responsible for the fact that he recklessly delivered a blow to the head of his opponent with sufficient force to cause an injury.
To summarize: this is elbowing. Vaakanainen suffered an injury on the play. Borowiekci has been suspended once previously in his 277 game NHL career, multiple seasons ago and for an unrelated offense.
The Department of Player Safety has suspended Mark Borowiecki for one game.
Brandon Share-Cohen has covered the NHL and various professional sports for six years. Working with The Hockey Writers, Brandon works extensively on covering the Boston Bruins in addition to his role as the News Team Lead.