Stan Bowman either knows more than he's saying about the severity of Dave Bolland's concussion, or the Chicago Blackhawks general manager is understandably like everyone else: Hostage to the vagaries of recovery from a potentially season-threatening injury.
But whether or not Bolland returns this season to the Hawks lineup, the point is Bowman shouldn't have to discuss a concussion, at least not one caused by an elbow to the head, which is why he supports the severe sanctions the NHL handed out this week for such actions.
Pittsburgh's Matt Cooke reset the precedent there, getting suspended for the balance of the regular season and the first round of the playoffs for a blatant elbow to the Rangers' Ryan McDonagh on Sunday.
"Looking at the reaction, not just from the league but from other players and even from the Pittsburgh team themselves, I think they all concede that's not the kind of play we want in the game," Bowman said before the Hawks' 4-0 victory over the Panthers on Wednesday.
"The thing we talked about at the (general managers') meetings -- we can talk about rules all we want and implementation of suspensions, but at the end of the day, it's the players on the ice that are doing these things to one another. They're the only ones that can stop it from happening. We can deal with it after the fact and try to have a deterrent in place. But the reaction to the league's actions has been pretty consistent, saying this is what we need. And hopefully it'll modify the way certain players play."
That said, Bowman stopped short of saying the league should have leveled a harsher penalty on the Lightning's Pavel Kubina for the March 9 hit on Bolland. Kubina received a three-game ban for the elbow.
"It's tough when you go by severity of injury with suspension," Bowman said. "The league has a lot of factors they take into consideration when they look at plays. I accept the way the league handled it. They have their criteria they look at. They spend a lot of time on this – when you sit down in our meetings, they go through their criteria they have.
"There's a lot of discussion. I don't know if there's one right answer as to how they decide. But I think we're comfortable with the fact that the league looks into these matters. We're looking forward right now. We can't be looking back to what happened. We just hope to get him back soon."