Updated: 7:33 p.m.
Johnny Boychuk went flying after Jakub Voracek, so the Flyers' winger wisely braced himself for a hit by throwing some weight back at the Islanders' blueliner.
Should Voracek just take a shot from a defenseman barreling down on him and the puck near the boards?
With the Flyers holding a comfortable 5-1 lead 5:41 into the third period of Saturday night's game, Voracek used upper-body force to impede the beelining Boychuk. Unfortunately, Boychuk, not expecting Voracek's awareness, went down on the play and never returned to the game. However, the injury wasn't severe enough to stop him from calling out Voracek as he left the ice.
Voracek was assessed a five-minute major for interference and had a hearing Sunday with the NHL's Department of Player Safety.
He was somehow suspended two games (see story).
Voracek got the best of New York by doing actual hockey things during a convincing — and needed — 5-2 win, his first game back after missing the previous two with a lower-body injury (see observations). Voracek finished with two assists, giving him 29 points in his last 24 games, a stretch in which the Flyers are 17-5-2.
When asked postgame about the collision with Boychuk, here's what Voracek had to say to reporters at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum:
The explanation I got was if I hit him in the head, it would be a game [misconduct]. I don't know why I got five. I try to protect myself, to be honest, maybe the puck was a little further than I thought — I thought the puck was close to me.
It's a tough hit. You know, he's getting off the ice, he's pointing at me like it's a WrestleMania or something. Pointing at me like it's a WrestleMania. Come on, it's a hockey game. … He's the guy that was sucker-punching 19-year-old Nolan Patrick last year in the end of a game. He's going to do that? Give me a break.
Voracek is right.
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 frustrated Islanders then tried everything in their power to turn the game into WrestleMania but the Flyers weren't having it. They were up 5-1 and have 14 crucial games left in their playoff chase (see standings).
Why get into a brawl of some sort and risk injury or even suspension?
The Flyers meet the Islanders once more this season — March 23 at the Wells Fargo Center. The game should have plenty of importance.
Knowing Voracek and the Flyers, they'll be focused on hockey, not WrestleMania.
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