Kurtis Gabriel's reckless hit on Nolan Patrick didn't fly with the Flyers.
And it didn't fly with the NHL, either.
The NHL's Department of Player Safety handed the Devils' forward a one-game suspension on Saturday for boarding Patrick during the first period of the Flyers' 6-3 win Friday at the Prudential Center.
Frankly, the play was dirty and dangerous.
NBC Sports Philadelphia Flyers analyst Chris Therien called it the "dumbest hit" he's seen all year.
On the broadcast, color analyst Bill Clement let out a "what is that?"
Since the 25-year-old Gabriel has played only 30 games in his NHL career and has no history of fines or suspensions, he was given just one game. If not for that, the punishment could have been much worse.
It is important to note that while Patrick does turn to face the boards to compete for the puck, this is not a case of a player turning immediately prior to contact in a way that turns a legal hit into an illegal one.
Although Patrick does shift slightly as Gabriel approaches, he is in a defenseless position before Gabriel initiates the check and was not in a position to recognize that Gabriel was approaching for contact and brace himself appropriately.
Having entered the zone from across the ice, Gabriel has plenty of time and space to make a better decision. The onus is on Gabriel to deliver this hit in a legal fashion, minimize the force of the contact or avoid this hit entirely, which he fails to do.
Tension only boiled from there as Travis Konecny came to Patrick's defense throughout the game and was seen shouting at Damon Severson and Sami Vatanen in the penalty box during the third period after the Devils' two defensemen tried scuffling with the Flyers' forwards.
"It was just a matter of trying to protect ourselves," Konecny said after the game (see story). "Patty is one of my good buddies and I'm going to stick up for him any time someone is messing with him. That's what it is. Everyone's just sticking together and we're a close team. It's not going to fly with us."
It's probably good that the Flyers and Devils don't meet again this season.
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