Calgary forward Rene Bourque received a five-game suspension for his elbow against Nicklas Backstrom in the third period of Washington’s 3-1 win Tuesday night at Verizon Center. Bourque will forefit $203,252.05 in pay during the suspension.

Brendan Shanahan, the NHL’s vice president of player safety, handed down the suspension for the blatant elbow, which marks the second time Bourque has received supplementary discipline in less than three weeks. Bourque received a two-game suspension for hitting Chicago’s Brent Seabrook from behind in mid-December.

“When we look at the events of this game we believe Bourque’s assertion that this was an instinctive reflex rather than a premeditated attempt to injure,” Shanahan said in his explination of the suspension, which you can watch after the jump. “However as all of the parties in the hearing agreed, this reckless elbow to the head is indefensible.”

In addition to being in violation of Rule 48 as an illegal check to the head, Shanahan cited Bourque’s status as a repeat offender and the fact that Backstrom was injured on the play as principle factors in determining the length of the suspension.

It’s uncertain what to what extent Backstrom, who was not made available to reporters on Wednesday, was injured on the play. Backstrom underwent concussion testing but the results were inconclusive, according to tweets from his brother Kristoffer.

Coach Dale Hunter said Backstrom, who took part in an off-ice workout, will continue to be evaluated and monitored by team doctors in the coming days. It’s also worth noting that Backstrom has a history of migraine headaches, and it could play a role in this scenario.

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