Senators’ Burrows suspended 10 games for attack on Devils’ Hall

Alexandre Burrows will have a long time to think about what he did to Taylor Hall. The Ottawa Senators forward has been suspended for 10 games after attacking Hall in Tuesday’s game against the New Jersey Devils. The length of the suspension reflects the violent nature of Burrows’ actions, as well as his status as a repeat offender.

Burrows took exception to a legal hit by Hall in the second period of Tuesday’s contest and cross-checked him in retaliation, drawing a whistle. At the end of the play Burrows approached Hall, dropped his stick and tackled Hall to the ice, swinging his right arm wildly at the back of Hall’s helmet while lying on top. Once officials moved in to restrain Burrows, he drove his right knee down repeatedly onto Hall’s head.

The NHL department of player safety considered all of Burrows’ actions, as well as his status as a repeat offender who was suspended once before and fined five times in his 13-year NHL career. Hall was not hurt in the melee, but the potential for injury caused by Burrows’ behaviour as the aggressor was also a factor in determining the suspension length, which will also cost Burrows around $134,000 in salary.

Burrows made a career out of agitating opponents, but in this case he was the one who lost his temper. His foul mood is understandable considering the season he’s had, with just eight points in 51 games while toiling away on Ottawa’s fourth line. At 36 years old, Burrows isn’t likely to regain his scoring touch, and displays like Tuesday’s make him a more of a liability than an asset, but the Senators have him signed through next season, meaning his NHL career will continue for at least one more year.

Ottawa was already thin at forward due to injuries to Bobby Ryan, Mark Stone, and Gabriel Dumont, and goals were difficult to come by even when everyone was healthy. The Senators had high hopes heading into the season after advancing to the 2017 Eastern Conference Final, but they now sit near the bottom of the conference with a goal differential lower than every team that isn’t the Buffalo Sabres or the Arizona Coyotes. Saying the season has been frustrating for Ottawa would be an understatement, but it needs a better outlet for that frustration than the one Burrows found.