NHL News & Notes: Eichel, Grzelcyk, Voracek & More

In today’s News & Notes, Jack Eichel has been suspended two games, Matt Grzelcyk’s x-rays for his injured arm have come back negative, Jakub Voracek has been suspended two games and David Perron is believed to be dealing with concussion-related symptoms.

Eichel Suspended 2 Games

The Buffalo Sabres will be without Eichel for their next two games as the franchise center has been suspended for an illegal check to the head of Colorado Avalanche forward Carl Soderberg.

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The NHL determined that there was enough force and that Soderberg’s head was the main point of contact and as a result, Eichel would be forced to miss some time. This is Eichel’s first suspension in his career.

As the video shows, The Avalanche win the faceoff and send the puck up the wall into a group of players. Both Soderberg and Eichel are in support positions as they wait for a loose puck. The puck is chipped further up the wall and both players pursue the loose puck.

With Soderberg reaching for the loose puck, Eichel cuts sharply in front of him with his upper body hitting Soderberg’s head and making it the main point of contact on a hit where such head contact was avoidable. This is an illegal check to the head.

The 22-year-old is having a career-year with 25 goals and 72 points in 65 games. Though the Sabres aren’t in a position to make a strong push for the postseason, they still have a very solid young core that’s built around Eichel. Losing him for any length of time is obviously less than ideal but isn’t the end of the world.

Grzelcyk X-Rays Come Back Negative

The Boston Bruins may have dodged a bullet as far as Matt Grzelcyk is concerned. The young defender would suffer an awkward hit against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Sunday and would leave the game as a result while favoring his right arm. Fortunately, his x-rays came back negative. Though he hasn’t suffered any breaks or fractures to his forearm/elbow, his status and the severity of the injury is still unknown.

Matt Grzelcyk - Bruins
Matt Grzelcyk, Boston Bruins, September 17, 2018 (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Grzelcyk has quietly been one of the best blueliners on the Bruins this season and his absence will loom large if he’s out for an extended period of time. This is especially true when considering the fact that the Bruins are already missing David Pastrnak, Jake DeBrusk, Marcus Johansson and Kevan Miller.

In 61 games this season, Grzelcyk has scored two goals and set a career-high in points with 16. The 25-year-old has been used in all situations at various times this season and the hope is that he’ll be ready to return sooner than later. Steven Kampfer is the most likely replacement for him on the roster right now, though the optimal solution to fill his minutes would be Urho Vaakanainen who is currently with the Providence Bruins in the AHL.

Voracek Suspended 2 Games

The Philadelphia Flyers could be without Voracek for two games as the veteran winger has been suspended for interference on New York Islanders defender Johnny Boychuk. Voracek will appeal the suspension, however, and the NHL has expedited the hearing to take place prior to the Flyers’ next game after their tilt against the Senators on Monday. The hearing will take place Tuesday afternoon.

Related: Voracek Suspended 2 Games

The suspension created a stir among the hockey community as many didn’t even feel the play was worthy of a major penalty, let alone a suspension. The NHL’s Department of Player Safety is notorious for being wildly inconsistent and it’s certainly taking a toll on all of those involved.

Recognizing the loose puck in the corner, Boychuk pinches down hard from the point as Voracek looks to establish position.

With both players still some distance away from the puck, Voracek sees Boychuk approaching with speed and, ignoring the puck entirely, cuts sharply into Boychuk’s path, driving his upper back into Boychuk’s head, knocking him to the ice.

This is interference.

This is Voracek’s first suspension in his NHL career. He’s been one of the best forwards on the Flyers once again this season and has scored 18 goals and 61 points in 66 games.

Perron Dealing With Concussion-Related Symptoms

The St. Louis Blues have been without Perron since Jan. 17 despite the fact that the veteran forward has been practicing with the team and has participated in battle drills that involve some contact. The latest report according to Jeremy Rutherford is that Perron is dealing with concussion-related symptoms. He took his first line-rushes Monday as an extra forward.

St. Louis Blues David Perron
St. Louis Blues left wing David Perron (Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports)

Perron has scored 17 goals and 35 points in 45 games this season and his eventual return will be huge for the Blues who could use him as the regular season winds down. The team is also without Tarasenko for at least another four games.