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Erik Gudbranson to Have Hearing After Taking Down Nick Cousins



Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Erik Gudbranson, pictured here on Feb. 19, 2023, in Tempe, has a hearing with the NHL today for his role in instigating a brawl with Florida’s Nick Cousins in the Panthers’ 5-2 win on Sunday. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Defenseman Erik Gudbranson will have a hearing with the NHL today after he was ejected from Sunday’s game for instigating a fight with Florida forward Nick Cousins.

It appeared that Cousins did not accept Gudbranson’s invitation to fight following a hit earlier in the third period. Gudbranson took matters into his own hands, pulling Cousins onto the ice and then repeatedly throwing one punch after another.

Cousins had to be attended to by Florida training Dave DiNapoli but skated off the ice under his own power — and returned for a shift later in the third.

Gudbranson was hit with a litany of charges: A 10-minute game misconduct, a 10-minute misconduct for instigating with a 2-minute instigator thrown in; he also got 5 for fighting.

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Columbus assistant coach Mark Recchi was also tossed for yelling at the officials.

In the end, the Panthers had a 7-minute power play with 13:11 remaining and a 2-1 lead.

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Although Columbus’ kill was terrific, they could not hold the Panthers off the board as Sasha Barkov cleaned up a Sam Reinhart shot with 37 seconds left.

The goal ended up being the game-winner in Florida’s 5-2 victory.

Gudbranson, the first-ever draft pick of Dale Tallon with the Panthers at third-overall in 2010, declined to speak to the media following the game.

But, it was obvious the fight stemmed from Cousins running him into the end boards to start the third.

Both went low into the boards and Gudbranson hit hard. He was down on the ice for a couple scary seconds — then popped up and went right after Cousins setting off a bit of a scrum.

Officials initially announced a 5-minute major for Cousins but after video review, not only was the penalty reduced to a minor — but Gudbranson was heading to the box for roughing.

Gudbranson and Cousins jawed at each other through the glass during the Blue Jackets power play — Sam Bennett got hit with a roughing — and it seemed only inevitable these two would dance again.

It came 6 minutes of game time later.

And, it was costly to the Blue Jackets.

Columbus coach Pascal Vincent said Cousins deserved the 5-minutes and that if the boarding call was handled properly, the fight does not happen.

“The guy is heart-and-soul,” Vincent said of Gudbranson. “He was vulnerable, facing the boards. We believe it was a five-minute. … He could have been seriously injured there. He’s an emotional guy. He knows it’s a really dangerous hit. You saw the rest.”

Said Sean Kuraly: “We didn’t like the way he was hit. It got to a point where he wanted to stand up for himself and he got the first shot at the guy who did it. That’s kind of the way that went.”



  • When: Tuesday, 10 p.m.
  • Where: Climate Pledge Arena, Seattle
  • TV/Streaming: Bally Sports Florida; ESPN+
  • Radio: WAXY 790-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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