Volchenkov Suspended Four Games, Kovalchuk Close To Returning

The NHL Department of Player Safety has decided to suspend New Jersey Devils defenseman Anton Volchenkov for four games following his hit on Brad Marchand last night. At 15:11 in the second period Volchenkov met Marchand along the boards. Volchenkov targeted the head of Marchand with his elbow, resulting in Marchand laying on the ice injured.

Volchenkov has been suspended before because of a similar incident back in 2011. In a game against the Carolina Hurricanes, Volchenkov elbowed Zach Boychuk. Volchenkov received a three game suspension and a 68,548.33 dollar fine.

Although Volchenkov is not classified as a repeat offender because the previous incident was over 18 months ago, the NHL did not forget about it.

Volchenkov did not make any attempt to play the puck. He skated right at Marchand and targeted the head. The hit was worthy of this suspension. With that said, Volchenkov

With Volchenkov suspended for the next four games, Peter Harrold will most likely be in the lineup.

Feb 9, 2013; Newark, NJ, USA; New Jersey Devils right wing Ilya Kovalchuk (17) shoots the puck during the first period of their game against the Pittsburgh Penguins at the Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

In other news, Ilya Kovalchuk is close to making a return. He skated with the team Tuesday as an extra skater and also skated today. Kovalchuk was reported to not feel 100 percent comfortable yet, and is still experiencing some soreness. At this point in the season, rushing Kovy back is not the best idea for the Devils.

There is no doubt that the return of Kovalchuk is needed, but he expressed that he does not want to return to the lineup if he will not be effective.

Topics: Anton Volchenkov, Ilya Kovalchuk, New Jersey Devils, NHL

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