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Nick Cousins Called ‘A Rat’ During Hockey Night in Canada

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Nick Cousins, here celebrating a goal against Seattle on Oct. 28 in Sunrise, is currently on Injured Reserve after being boarded by Jason Zucker on Tuesday in Arizona. (AP Photo/Jim Rassol)

During intermission of Hockey Night in Canada on Saturday night, analyst Kevin Bieska went scorched earth on Florida Panthers forward Nick Cousins, calling him ‘a rat’ for his recent run of controversial hits.

Cousins is currently on Injured Reserve after sustaining a concussion after being boarded by Jason Zucker on Tuesday night in Arizona.

Although Bieska — who spent 13 seasons in the NHL with Vancouver and Anaheim — did not condemn Zucker for the hit which got him suspended for three games, he did not hold back on what he considered numerous cheap shots from Cousins.

Including the one which preceded the hit Zucker laid on him Tuesday.

Cousins was not penalized when he hit a downed Arizona’s Juuso Valimaki with his elbow — which Bieska pointed out is becoming a running theme when it comes to the Florida forward.

Bieska also brought up a hit from behind on Erik Gudbranson last month in Columbus — in which the defenseman jumped Cousins later in the period — as well as a hit to Winnipeg’s Mark Scheifele at center ice earlier this season.

“This is a trend with his player,’’ Bieska said. “He has done this a numerous amount of times; ramming a guy’s head into the boards, the hit earlier in the year on Gudbranson, Scheifele (earlier this) year.

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“What’s the common theme with all of these? Him at the bottom of the pile in a turtle position.’’

Cousins did receive a penalty on the hit to Gudbranson, one which happened as both were racing toward the end boards and Cousins boarded Gudbranson.

Gudbranson was down on the ice momentarily, but then popped up and started fighting Cousins.

Officials initially called a 5-minute major on Cousins but, after review, downgraded it to 2-minutes which infuriated the Nationwide Arena crowd — and Gudbranson.

When the two got out of the box later in the period, Gudbranson reportedly asked Cousins to fight and was turned down.

So, the former Florida defenseman grabbed Cousins by the neck, tossed him to the ground and began punching him.

Gudbranson was ejected from the game and was later suspended a game.

Bieksa said someone from within the Panthers needs to sit Cousins down and try and settle him down.

Then, Bieska compared him to former Vancouver teammate Raffi Torres which sort of ruined his whole argument.

“I am told he’s a good guy, told he’s liked by his teammates,’’ Bieska said. “And he’s actually a pretty good hockey player.

“But somebody in that organization, or somebody that he respects, has to sit down and say, ‘Enough of this. This doesn’t help the Florida Panthers win. It doesn’t make us a better team.’ Or, the NHL needs to hammer this guy.’’

ON DECK

FLORIDA PANTHERS @ ST. LOUIS BLUES 

  • When: Tuesday, 8 p.m.
  • Where: Enterprise Center, St. Louis
  • 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 (St. Louis Leads 1-0) — At Florida: Blues 4, Panthers 1 (Dec. 21). At St. Louis: Tuesday.
  • Last Season: Blues won 2-0
  • All-time Regular Season Series: St. Louis leads 27-12-1, 3 ties
  • Up Next for the Panthers: Thursday vs. Los Angeles, 7 p.m.

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