It was 1-1 in last night's game between the Vancouver Canucks and Boston Bruins when Erik Gudbranson went into the boards with Frank Vatrano, slamming the Bruins forward from behind.
It was an ugly hit, as Gudbranson clearly caught Vatrano right in the numbers and followed through. In fact, it was exactly the kind of play that the NHL's Department of Player Safety has made a lot of noise about wanting to get out of the game.
The hit may have helped ignite the long-lost Bruins-Canucks rivalry, which could be a good thing, but it also certainly lost the Canucks the game. The Bruins scored three goals on the ensuing five-minute power play. Boston would go on to win the game 6-3.
Today it was announced that Gudbranson will be suspended for one game for the hit. Thus, we will see the debut of Alex Biega against the Buffalo Sabres tonight. He (probably) can't do much worse than Gudbranson did in his limited time last night.
Was the suspension fair?
Probably, yeah. Gudbranson followed through and it wasn't really a case of Vatrano turning at the last minute. While the Canuck was surely just trying to close out the forward, he had time to re-adjust. We're assuming that his lack of prior suspensions or dalliances with player safety played a role in the one-game ban.