Philadelphia Flyers forward Jakub Voracek was given a two-game suspension by the NHL for his hit on Johnny Boychuk. In his defense, he’s a playmaker so the play can’t be dirty.
Jakub Voracek was tossed a two-game suspension by the NHL’s Department of Player Safety for his dirty hit on New York Islanders defenseman Johnny Boychuk.
The hit was unwarranted, to an ineligible player, it was to the head, and caused an injury. The major penalty, as well as the supplemental discipline form the DoPS, were absolutely warranted for Voracek.
It seems like a black and white issue. Voracek did something wrong and now he’s paying the price for that action. But hold up, NBC Philly weighed in with some ridiculous arguments against supplemental discipline.
It’s a Bad Hit
Let’s get one thing clear, Jakub Voracek is not a dirty player. He’s never been fined or suspended in the 833 games he’s played in the NHL leading up to the game in Nassau. He’s a top-level playmaker in the NHL with incredible skill.
But just because he’s a playmaker doesn’t mean he can’t make a dirty play. NBC Philly’s Jordan Hall thinks otherwise.
"The play wasn’t dirty and he has no history of maliciousness. The guy is a playmaker for crying out loud, not an enforcer."
The NHL’s DoPS hit the nail on the head when reviewing the play. Contact occurred well away from the puck. Voracek makes initial contact with the head. And on a player that isn’t eligible to be hit.
Voracek figured he was in a vulnerable position relative to the oncoming Boychuk and lashed out. Voracek was in that vulnerable position because he stood there waiting for the puck rather than skate after it. He stopped skating. That’s hockey 101.
If Philly fans want to be mad about the suspension they should direct it to the officiating crew and not the NHL.
In the NHL rulebook (see rule 56.5 and 56.6) an interference call that is assessed a major penalty that results in an injury it automatically deserves a game misconduct penalty.
"56.5 Game Misconduct Penalty – When a major penalty is imposed under this rule for a foul resulting in an injury of an opponent, a game misconduct shall be imposed."
If the refs give Voracek a game misconduct after the hit, he probably doesn’t get supplemental discipline from the NHL. With the game at 5-1, Voracek with two primary assists already, maximum damage was already inflicted on the Islanders. Keeping him out on the ice only made him a target for the Islanders and assured him a date with the DoPS.
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Voracek isn’t a dirty player, but he made a dirty play and now he’s paying the price for it. Hopefully, the injury to Johnny Boychuk wasn’t severe and will be back soon. At the time of writing, he’s questionable to play against the Columbus Blue Jackets.