Blue Jackets’ Gudbranson to have hearing for altercation with Panthers’ Cousins

Watch as Columbus Blue Jackets defenceman Erik Gudbranson jumps Florida Panthers forward Nick Cousins, seeking retribution for a hit he received earlier in the period, and is handed multiple penalties including a game misconduct.

Columbus Blue Jackets defenceman Erik Gudbranson will have a hearing on Monday with the NHL’s Department of Player Safety after an altercation with Florida Panthers forward Nick Cousins.

Gudbranson was ejected from Sunday’s game for instigating a fight with Cousins. The fight was Gudbranson’s retaliation for a hit from behind Cousins had laid on him earlier in the third period.

Cousins initially received a major penalty for boarding on the play, but after review it was downgraded to a minor.

“(Gudbranson) is a heart-and-soul kinda guy,” said Blue Jackets coach Pascal Vincent after the game. “He’s vulnerable, facing the boards. We believe it was a five-minute. If that call happens (as a major), that (next) thing doesn’t happen, including a game misconduct.”

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Gudbranson, 31, was handed multiple penalties for the ensuing fight: A two-minute penalty for instigating, a five-minute major for fighting, a 10-minute misconduct for instigating and a 10-minute game misconduct. 

He had also received a two-minute penalty for roughing immediately after Cousin’s hit.

“We didn’t like the way he was hit,” added Blue Jackets forward Sean Kuraly. “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 kinda the way that went.”

Gudbranson declined to speak to reporters after the game.

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