I don't expect this to be a popular opinion but I really don't think the elbow was that bad. It should have been a penalty but no more.
It seemed to not fully connect and thus had no real force behind it. His head barely even moved let-alone snap back.
Unfortunately players don't get suspended for intention. Sure Datsyuk is out today but I think that's just precautionary.
It definitely should have been a penalty, as was not. We agree there. I also agree that it did not fully connect and could have been much worse. I do not agree that it had no real force behind it, though. I don't think Datsyuk would have gone down OR missed the next game (precaution or no) if he didn't feel something there. His head didn't snap back mostly because it was a glancing blow to the side of the head.
Players do not get suspended for intent alone. The intent was obviously there. Cowen stuck his elbow out very obviously and it was not a natural thing to do in that situation. He clearly and purposefully gave Datsyuk the elbow. And, he connected with it.... to the head. So, it wasn't just intent. There WAS intent to hit with the elbow AND the elbow hit the head. And. Dastyuk missed time as a result of the hit.... while I do not necessarily agree that should come into play when considering the suspension, it very clearly has come into play historically.
If Cowen doesn't get suspended, the NHL again proves itself to be a bunch of inconsistent hypocrites.