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Suspensions, Appeals and Playoffs… OH MY!

A key piece of the Philadelphia Flyers offense will be missing during their playoff push as the result of a hotly debated suspension handed down by the NHL.

Philadelphia Flyers by Kevin Burkett is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Suspensions, Appeals and Playoffs… OH MY!

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The NHL has suspended Philadelphia Flyers forward Jakub Voracek for 2 games after a hit he laid on NY Islanders defenseman Johnny Boychuk during their game on March 9th. He was given a 5 minute major for interference during the game.

Needless to say, this ruling has garnered mixed reaction. While popular opinion seems to come down on the side of “sure it’s a penalty”, the post-game discipline hasn’t sat well with Voracek or anyone else with rooting interest in the Philadelphia Flyers.

Hilarious Laughing Emojis…?

The following tweet was dropped about 10 minutes prior to the announcement of additional discipline by the NHL Department of Player Safety. I wonder how Jake feels about their decision:

Take from this what you will.

The biggest talking point as a result of all of this seems to be the inconsistency in the NHL’s handing down of discipline. One simply has to look back a month to find a prime example of this in the form of Evgeni Malkin.

Baseball doesn’t start for another week or so!

In Malkin’s case he was assessed a 5 minute major and a game misconduct. The NHL then suspended him for one game – ONE game. For using his stick more as a baseball bat or golf club. Add to this the fact that Malkin has a slightly longer “rap sheet” when it comes to suspensions and you can understand why people are a bit perplexed about the Voracek decision. And this is just one example! There’s a veritable laundry list of plays similar to this that can be endlessly debated (just visit any number of fan forums and these types of hits and the commensurate discipline are regular topics argued over).

The Playoff Impact

Perhaps the biggest problem for Philadelphia is the timing of the suspension. Remember when the season was only just beginning and everyone had the same shot at the Stanley Cup? Well, the Flyers are now fighting for a playoff spot. They currently sit on the outside looking in, duking it out for that second wild-card spot. They took care of the Ottawa Senators last night, holding on to win 3-2 without Voracek, who is not allowed to play while appealing his suspension. That appeal will be heard on Tuesday afternoon by commissioner Gary Bettman. This will be another storyline during the run-up to the end of the regular season. Next up for the Flyers are the Washington Capitals on Thursday. Time will tell whether Voracek will take the ice with them or not.


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