It looks like Radko Gudas won’t be the only player speaking with the NHL Department of Player Safety today. The league has announced that Nashville Predators forward Austin Watson also has a disciplinary date today. Watson was the perpetrator of a hard check from behind on Colorado Avalanche rookie Dominic Toninato yesterday.
As you can see in the video, Watson hit Toninanto right on the numbers with some real force and may have even gotten his elbow up in Toninato’s head area as well. The hit occurred midway through the first period in what was Toninato’s NHL debut. Watson was given a five-minute major for boarding and a game misconduct, leaving his team short-handed for much of the game, though the Predators still won 5-2. Toninato missed much of the game, but did return later on in the third period.
A notably physical player, Watson has nevertheless never been suspended in his NHL career. Also, unlike Gudas, the league requested only a phone hearing with Watson, meaning that a suspension – if any – will be less than five games. It may be the first major infraction for Watson, but given the ferocity of the check and the league’s efforts to clean up the game, it seems likely that Watson will end up with a suspension of some sort.