NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has resisted Philadelphia Flyers forwards Jakub Voracek‘s appeal of his two-game suspension, mentioning”clear and convincing evidence” that justified that the ban for interference on ny Islanders defenseman Johnny Boychuk.
Last Saturday in a eventual 52 win for the Flyers, Boychuk quickly skated toward Voracek and the on coming puck. Voracek, saying he feared for his safety on a possible hit from Boychuk, leaned his body in to the Islanders defenseman, whose head begins with Voracek’s straight back. Boychuk had been helped off the ice, though not before he pointed to the penalty box and shouted”I will allow you to get” at the Flyers forward.
The Department of Player Safety suspended Voracek for just 2 matches, despite being the very first supplemental field of the career. Even the National Hockey League Players’ Association appealed the suspension on Voracek’s reward — a rare move for a ban of just two matches, but a crucial one for the Flyers, that sit five points out of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Voracek missed their win over Ottawa on Monday, and now will miss their game against division-leading Washington on Thursday.
Inside his hearing with Bettman, Voracek confessed that he cried with Boychuk on the play, however he had been simply bracing himself to the hit rather than lunging at the defenseman. Bettman disagreed, writing:
“While I accept Mr. Voracek’s excuse that he thought Mr. Boychuk was going to initiate a check, the video makes it very clear that it had been Mr. Voracek who pioneered the telephone. At the hearing, it had been declared that Mr. Voracek had other options open to him, but alternatively Mr. Voracek moved to Mr. Boychuk’s course by taking a measure to the left and driving upwards into him. The onus was on Mr. Voracek in order to avoid causing a significant setback to Mr. Boychuk’s head”
Bettman stated that despite Voracek having”kept a strong personality and clean record,” it does not absolve him from”the duty to play this game in a safe manner in accordance with the applicable rules”
Voracek is permitted return to the Flyers for Friday night’s game at Toronto.