Jake Voracek and the NHL Players Association have filed an appeal against the league for its two-game suspension on the Flyers’ high-scoring right winger.
A hearing between the parties and Gary Bettman, the NHL commissioner, will take place Tuesday.
Even though he is appealing the decision, Voracek had to sit out the first game of his suspension Monday, missing the matchup against Ottawa. He is hoping Bettman reduces the suspension to one game so he can play Thursday against visiting Washington.
It is believed that Voracek will be accompanied by general manager Chuck Fletcher and an NHLPA representative for an in-person hearing in New York. Fletcher declined multiple interview requests.
Flyers interim coach Scott Gordon said he was disappointed by Voracek’s two-game suspension for interference against the Islanders’ Johnny Boychuk on Saturday, and he sharply criticized the NHL’s decision.
Prior to Monday’s game, Gordon said a March 1 hit by the Devils’ Kurtis Gabriel on Nolan Patrick, which drew a one-game suspension for boarding, was “a lot more severe, more intentioned than what Jake was trying to do. I think Jake was trying to protect himself. A guy (Boychuk) is sprinting down the boards and has no intentions of slowing down. (He) sees Jake in front of him and never slows down. Jake isn’t just going to stand there and absorb the hit.”
In its decision, the NHL cited Voracek’s “substantial contact” with Boychuk’s head and the “force of the hit” as reasons for the suspension.
Shortly after the suspension was announced, Voracek tweeted five emojis showing hysterical laughter.
Couturier said “all you want is maybe a little more consistency” in the league’s decisions. “I think everyone wants that. Sometimes, we’re on the good side, sometimes we’re on the bad side.”
Gordon said Voracek is “a lighter man, and he probably received the worst part of the hit.”
Boychuk was injured on the play and was unable to play Monday against visiting Columbus.