New Jersey Devils defenseman Anton Volchenkov has taken quite a beating of late. In Game 5 against the Philadelphia Flyers last round he was crunched by Zac Rinaldo, getting the wind knocked out of him.
This afternoon in Game 3 against the New York Rangers, Volchenkov was on the receiving end of a Brandon Prust elbow to the back of the head:
Prust was not penalized on the play and Volchenkov remained in the game.
It was an unnecessary elbow. Prust didn't need to get his arm up that high on Volchenkov to finish his check. Volchenkov, for the moment, didn't suffer any apparent injury. Raffi Torres was fined for his own unnecessary elbow to the head of Jan Hejda earlier this season.
Do those two factor help make it fall from suspendable to just a fine?
UPDATE: Via Andrew Gross of the Bergen Record, after the game Devils head coach Peter DeBoer called the hit "headhunting, plain and simple", while Prust defended himself:
"It definitely wasn't hard," Prust said. "It wasn't my intention going into it. He kind of spun off and I didn't want him to cut in on me. It wasn't vicious at all."
But asked if he thought the NHL would review the play, Prust said. "I'm sure they might. Like I said, there was no intent. I didn't even think it was that hard. I didn't even feel it. I didn't even know I did it, really."
Via Wysh, Volchenkov said after the game that he wasn't feeling bad after the hit and didn't go through concussion protocol. He said it was "pretty dirty, actually, he hit me in the head."
UPDATE: Prust will have a hearing on Sunday with the Department of Player Safety.
Follow Sean Leahy on Twitter at @Sean_Leahy