There are going to be some very angry fans on both sides of this one.
On Friday night the New Jersey Devils faced off against the Philadelphia Flyers in a battle between two teams who at this stage of the season are largely expected to be well out of the race for the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs. You would think the fact that the game is relatively meaningless for both sides at this stage of the regular season would have kept it a relatively tepid affair but no one seems to have passed that message on to either the New Jersey Devils or the Philadelphia Flyers.
Not only did the game feature a combined total of 9 goals on the evening but it also featured some rather nasty extra curricular activities on the ice that drew the ire of both teams and their respective fan bases. Unquestionably the biggest moment of the night in terms of raising the blood pressure of everyone in the building and everyone watching at home was the hit from New Jersey Devils forward Kurtis Gabriel delivered to Philadelphia Flyers forward Nolan Patrick. The hit was, to put it plainly, as ugly as they come and it immediately drew a crowd from both teams as soon as it happened as everyone in the building knew immediately that this was a bad one.
Gabriel was awarded a major penalty for his infraction on the play and is now facing additional discipline courtesy of the National Hockey League's Department of Player Safety. The Department of Player Safety has just announced that the hit from Gabriel to the back of Patrick last night will result in a hearing today, although no word yet on the length of punishment that Gabriel will face at this time.
There's no question that it was a vicious hit and an incredibly dangerous one at that. Additionally there's also little question that Patrick is viewed as a much better player than Gabriel and it would have been a real shame to see him injured by a guy that is barely an NHL player at all. That being said though Nolan would get his revenge later on in the game, and it will be interesting to see if the NHL addresses this or not.