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Erik Gudbranson Suspended One Game After Takedown of Nick Cousins



Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Erik Gudbranson, pictured here on Nov. 29, was suspended one game for his actions in the third period of a 5-2 loss to the Florida Panthers. (AP Photo/Paul Vernon)

Columbus defenseman Erik Gudbranson was suspended one game after being the “aggressor” in an altercation against Florida Panthers forward Nick Cousins on Sunday afternoon.

Gudbranson grabbed Cousins and slammed him to the ice before throwing multiple punches targeted to his head 6:49 into the third period.

Those actions were in retribution for a check from behind Cousins laid on Gudbranson early in the third period of Florida’s 5-2 win over the Blue Jackets.

After the hit, Gudbranson immediately got up and went to fight Cousins.

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On the initial play, Cousins was tagged with a two-minute penalty for boarding while Gudbranson and Sam Bennett, who engaged with the angered Blue Jackets defenseman in defense of his teammate, were hit with roughing penalties.

Once Gubdranson and Cousins took their next shift following the penalties, Gudbranson sought out Cousins and was the aggressor in the altercation, which violated Rule 46.2 in the NHL’s rule book.

The aggressor in the altercation shall be the player who continues to throw punches in an attempt to inflict punishment on his opponent who is in a defenseless position or who is an unwilling combatant.

The NHL’s Department of Player Safety noted that Cousins was an “unwilling combatant” in that particular altercation.

They also stated, “While we acknowledge his frustration, players are not excused from grossly violating league rules in retribution for hits thrown on them legal or otherwise.”

Detroit Red Wings forward David Perron was issued a six-game suspension for a similar retaliatory play against Ottawa Senators defenseman Artem Zub.

Perron laid a cross-check to the head of Zub after a play near the front of the net ended with a hit to the head of captain Dylan Larkin which left him unconscious.

The key difference between Gudbranson and Perron’s retaliatory actions was that Perron delivered an intentional hit to the head of Zub with his stick.



  • When: Tuesday, 10 p.m.
  • Where: Climate Pledge Arena, Seattle
  • TV/Streaming: Bally Sports Florida; ESPN+
  • Radio: WQAM 560-AM; WBZT 1230-AM (Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3-FM (Florida Keys); SiriusXM
  • Panthers Radio Streaming: SiriusXM 932, NHL App
  • This Season (Florida Leads 1-0) — At Florida: Panthers 3, Kraken 2 (Oct.28). At Seattle: Tuesday.
  • Last Season: Tied 1-1
  • All-Time Regular Season Series: Seattle leads 3-2-0
  • Up Next for the Panthers: Thursday at Vancouver, 10


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