OTTAWA, Ontario -- The Ottawa Senators knew Alex Burrows was facing a suspension. Ten games caught them by surprise.
The NHL department of Player Safety handed Burrows a 10-game suspension Wednesday night for kneeing New Jersey's Taylor Hall on Tuesday night in a home victory.
"We disagree, but we respect the league's process and decision," Senators coach Guy Boucher said Thursday.
Hall caught Burrows with a hard check and Burrows replied by chasing down the Devils forward before punching and kneeing him in the helmet. He will forfeit $134,409 of his salary.
"For the sole purpose of retribution, Burrows drags an unwilling opponent to the ice. Punches him several times, then uses his knee pad to violently inflict more punishment on his opponent's head. This is a dangerous and unjustifiable attack," NHL Player Safety said in a statement.
Senators teammate Mark Stone called the suspension "a bit harsh."
"Obviously, it's a suspendable play, but 10 games seems a bit harsh especially considering he doesn't really have as much of a history as people may think," Stone said
Burrows has been suspended once and fined five times over 893 career games.
Hall, speaking to reporters in New Jersey on Thursday, wasn't surprised by the length of Burrows' suspension.
"I think in instances like that where it's not really a hockey play, you like to see the league standing up for you there," Hall said. "The reason it's so high is they just want to exterminate it. They don't want to see it again."
Burrows did not speak to the media after Ottawa's morning skate Thursday. He has 48 hours to appeal the ruling.
"We're going to miss (Burrows), he's a great leader in this locker room, good veteran guy and a guy that everyone really likes," Matt Duchene said. "He's a guy that we rely on for his character and his grit so we're going to miss him while he's out."