Bowman happy with steps NHL's taking to stop head shots

Whether or not Tampa Bay defenseman Pavel Kubina deserved more than a three-game suspension for elbowing Dave Bolland in the head two weeks ago no longer matters to Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman.

What is important to Bowman is getting cheap shots to the head such as those by Kubina and Pittsburgh's Matt Cooke out of the game.

“I accept the way the league handled it,” Bowman said of the slap on the wrist to Kubina. “They have their criteria they look at. I think we're comfortable with the fact that the league looks into these maters.

“We're looking forward right now. We can't be looking back to what happened or how long a player is going to be out. We just hope to get him back soon.”

Bolland still hasn't skated since the Kubina hit and isn't expected to return anytime soon because of the concussion-like symptoms he still experiences.

“We're always hopeful these things can progress quickly, but it's hard to say,” Bowman said. “These kind of injuries, you just don't know. We're optimistic, but at this point it's just wait and see.”

Bowman applauded the NHL for Cooke's stiff suspension of the rest of the regular season and first round of the playoffs for his repeat offense last Sunday when he deliberately elbowed Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh in the head.

“We have to do whatever we can to make this game safer for everybody,” Bowman said. “I was happy to see the reaction the league took. I think it's a great step and shows you they're serious about it.

“Looking at the reaction, not just from the league but from other players and even from the Pittsburgh team itself, they all concede that he is not the kind of player that we want in the game.

“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,” Bowman said. “They're the only ones, really, who can stop it.”

Dry spell:

Winger Troy Brouwer took a 15-game goal drought into Wednesday's clash with Florida.

Brouwer had just 1 assist in that stretch and was minus-5.

“It's something you try not to think about it, but any player will tell you that you do think about it,” Brouwer said. “I'm trying to do what I can to make sure we win, whether it's being physical or scoring goals. I know getting back on track definitely would help the team out.”

Soup's on:

Defenseman Brian Campbell returned to the lineup after missing three games with an injured foot.

“I felt good (Tuesday in practice) and the best part about it is I felt good again (Wednesday),” Campbell said. “That hasn't happened for a while.”

Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook celebrates his goal during the second period of their NHL hockey game against the Florida Panthers, Wednesday, March 23, 2011, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)