Yanni Gourde will be absent from the ice for the Tampa Bay Lightnings next two matchups. The NHL Department of Player Safety announced his suspension Friday evening after reviewing Gourdes illegal check to the head on Carolina Hurricanes forward Jordan Staal.
Tampa Bays Yanni Gourde Suspended Two Games
Tampa Bay’s Yanni Gourde has been suspended for two games for an Illegal Check to the Head on Carolina’s Jordan Staal. https://t.co/eGugV9BrDd
— NHL Player Safety (@NHLPlayerSafety) March 22, 2019
Gourdes suspension comes as a result of an illegal check to the head made on Thursday when the Lightning faced off against the Hurricanes. The play occurred during the first period. Staal bent forward as Ryan Callahan caught skated behind him, right on his heels. As Staal was leaning forward, Gourde slid in and clipped his head with his shoulder.
Staal left the ice and headed to the teams’ locker room after the hit. Due to his history of concussions, he was quickly assessed for any potential injury since the main point of contact was the head. He eventually returned to the game and posted his eighth goal of the season, though the Hurricanes ultimately lost.
Gourde received a match penalty for the hit, which resulted in his ejection from the game and the following Friday hearing with the league. The two-game suspension means Gourde won’t be eligible to return to the lineup until March 30th when the Bolts take on the Washington Capitals.
What This Means for the Future
This is Gourdes first career suspension. After 75 games this season, he currently owns 20 goals and 24 assists for 44 points. The forward is averaging 15:45 minutes of ice time per game. He stands to lose $10,752.68 due to the suspension.
In his four year career with the Lightning, Gourde’s tallied 51 goals and 66 assists for 117 points over 179 games. Tampa Bay has already clinched the Presidents Trophy and is looking to extend their seven-game win streak. Unfortunately, the team will have to do so without Gourdes services for now.
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