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Yanni Gourde suspended two games for hit to Jordan Staal’s head

Lightning forward will miss games in St. Louis and home against Boston.
Tampa Bay Lightning's Yanni Gourde (37), shown tracking down the puck during Thursday's game, has been suspended for two games after a check to the head during the game against Carolina. [Gerry Broome | AP Photo]
Tampa Bay Lightning's Yanni Gourde (37), shown tracking down the puck during Thursday's game, has been suspended for two games after a check to the head during the game against Carolina. [Gerry Broome | AP Photo]
Published Mar. 22, 2019
Updated Mar. 23, 2019

ST. LOUIS — Yanni Gourde has been suspended two games for his illegal check to Jordan Staal’s head during Thursday’s game against Carolina.

Gourde was given a match penalty in-game, which carries an automatic indefinite suspension until the play has been reviewed. The Department of Player Safety ruled on the suspension after a hearing with Gourde on Friday.

According to the explanation video, Gourde’s angle of approach was the issue, making “clear and forceful hit” in which Staal’s head was the main point of contact but was avoidable.

Gourde argued that Staal was stumbling as he played the puck, but the video explains Staal’s head does not “materially change position.” Gourde had time to change his angle and avoid Staal’s head on the play.

Gourde will forfeit $10,752.68, or about one percent of his average annual value.

“If there’s any contact with the head, whether it’s intentional or not (and it was clearly not intentional), the league’s been consistent with what’s happened," Jon Cooper said Saturday morning. "And they were consistent in this case. You need players to step in and help us. Ryan (Callahan) has done that Adam (Erne) has done that. I can go all the way down the list. It’s unfortunate Gordo’s out, but the depth we have to step in is good for us.”

This is Gourde’s first suspension or fine. He will miss Saturday’s game in St. Louis and Monday’s game at home against Boston.