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Erik Gudbranson destroys Bryan Little, receives Match Penalty

Florida Panthers defenseman Erik Gudbranson absolutely leveled Winnipeg Jets forward Bryan Little late in the 2nd period on Thursday night.  Gudbranson delivered a huge forearm hit to the face of Little and Little went down in pain immediately.  Gudbranson was ejected from the game and given a Match Penalty, which means the hit will be reviewed by the NHL automatically.  The definition of a Match Penalty from the NHL rulebook is here:

21.1 Match Penalty – A match penalty involves the suspension of a player for the balance of the game and the offender shall be ordered to the dressing room immediately.

A match penalty shall be imposed on any player who deliberately attempts to injure or who deliberately injures an opponent in any manner.

While I don’t think the hit was necessary clean, I think the reason Little got hurt was because of the huge size difference between the two.  Gudbranson is 6’5″ 210 lbs, and Little is only 5’11” 185 lbs.  I don’t think Gudbranson will get suspended, but it wouldn’t shock me if he did.  Winnipeg went on to win the game Thursday night 7-2.

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