Jakub Voracek was given a two-game suspension this weekend for interference, but won’t accept the penalty lying down. The NHLPA has filed an appeal on behalf of the Philadelphia Flyers forward, and according to Chris Johnston of Sportsnet requested an expedited hearing. John Shannon of Sportsnet reports that it will be heard on Tuesday in New York. Currently, Voracek is suspended for games tonight and Thursday.
The incident that resulted in Voracek’s suspension is not one that the league deals with very often. As the puck was rimmed around the boards in the Philadelphia zone, Voracek launched himself back into Johnny Boychuk who was forechecking to try and keep it in the zone. These sort of back-checks happen frequently, but rarely result in such a clear head collision. In the original accompanying video, the Department of Player Safety explained why this one resulted in a suspension:
What causes this hit to rise to the level of supplementary discipline is the distance both players are from the puck, the substantial contact with Boychuk’s head, and the force of the hit. When Voracek initiates this hit, he and Boychuk are at the hash marks while the puck is at the goal line. There is no reason for any player in Boychuk’s position to anticipate contact of any kind, let alone a forceful hit to the head by an opponent’s back.
As is his right, Voracek will first have a hearing with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman who will issue a ruling. Unfortunately because of the short length of suspension, the second appeal with an independent arbitrator is not and option. With no history of suspension or fines on his record, it will be interesting to see if Bettman reduces it at all, and if his decision is made in time to get Voracek back in the Philadelphia line up in time for Thursday’s game.