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March 18, 2016

Chris VandeVelde suspended two games, likely to be replaced by Jake Voracek against Pittsburgh

Flyers NHL

We all had an idea that Chris VandeVelde might be in some trouble for that elbow on Jonathan Toews the other night, and the NHL Department of Player Safety has decided to act. VandeVelde has been suspended for two games:

VandeVelde has no history of discipline during his NHL career and Toews wasn’t injured on the play. Here was the explanation given for the suspension:

"And while this is not an extremely predatory or a violent hit, it is still a reckless elbow to an opponent's head with sufficient force to merit supplemental discipline.”

The good news for the Flyers is that they will likely have an overqualified replacement for VandeVelde ready in time for tomorrow’s gigantic clash with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Ron Hextall has cleared Jake Voracek, who has missed the last nine games with one of those ultra-specific lower-body injuries. And if Friday’s practice at SkateZone is any indication, Voracek will be in the lineup against the Pens. From Greg Paone of CSN Philly:

“We’ll see during the game if I play tomorrow,” Voracek said. “To be honest, I haven’t talked to [Dave Hakstol]. I just came into the locker room and had a jersey in my stall.

“I skated all week. I skated in Chicago and was back skating with (Flyers assistant coach Gord) Murphy yesterday. I pushed it really hard. It felt pretty good. Now I just have to find a way to help the team win a game.”

At practice, Voracek reportedly skated on the third line with Matt Read and Nick Cousins. Scott Laughton bumped down to the fourth line to take VandeVelde’s spot.

The Flyers went an astounding 7-1-1 with Voracek out of the lineup.

Follow Rich on Twitter: @rich_hofmann