Yanni Gourde Suspended After Charging Oilers’ Mattias Ekholm

en flag
es flag
The Hockey Writers

Early Friday morning, news broke that Yanni Gourde of the Seattle Kraken was set to face a hearing with the NHL Department of Player Safety following a charging hit on Edmonton Oilers’ defenseman Mattias Ekholm. The incident had sparked debate among hockey fans, as the play unfolded amidst heightened emotions in a game characterized by tensions between Gourde and Connor McDavid.

Upset about being crosschecked, Gourde tried to engage the Oilers’ captain in a fight, which McDavid declined. Frustrated that a penalty wasn’t called, Gourde targeted a different Oiler. He took a number of strides before charging and elevating into a hit on Ekholm that caught the defenseman partially in the head. Ekholm was not at all pleased, a scrum ensued, and while in the penalty box, seemed to gesture he’d remember the hit for the next game these two teams played.

The NHL Department of Player Safety said in their assessing the suspension:

Ekholm arrives first and makes a play on the puck. As he does, Gourde elevates unnecessarily, launching up and into a check that makes significant contact with Ekholm’s head. This is charging. It is important to note that this is not a case of a player elevating slightly as part of a natural hitting motion while delivering a full body check, nor is it a case of a player coming off of the ice after contact because of the force of the collision.

They added in their video explaining the decision that if Gourde wanted to deliver this check legally, he should have stayed low and hit through Ekholm’s shoulder or core rather than elevating upward and into his head.

Yanni Gourde Seattle Kraken

Gourde has been suspended once during his 510 game NHL career, which factored into the department of fire safety suspending him for two games.

Was This on McDavid and Gourde?

Part of the discontent among Kraken fans isn’t so much that Gourde crossed the line, but that he felt compelled to do so because McDavid was running around and playing dirty against the Kraken players without consequence. While Oilers fans probably don’t see it that way, it is fair to note that McDavid was very engaged physically during the game and he took a couple of penalties in the game. He could have gotten a couple more based on the style he employed on Thursday night.

All that said, Gourde still went too far and could have seriously injured Ekholm. The NHL saw the intent and has suspended him as a result.

PHP Code Snippets Powered By : XYZScripts.com