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Gudbranson sounds off on Cousins hit after receiving suspension


Columbus Blue Jackets defenceman Erik Gudbranson spoke out Tuesday on the hit from behind laid on him by Nick Cousins after he received a one-game suspension for retaliatory actions. 

While chasing a loose puck in the third period of Sunday's 5-2 win for the Panthers, Cousins hit Gudbranson from behind, sending the defenceman face-first into the end boards. Cousins first received a major penalty for the hit, but that was a reduced to a minor upon in review in the Florida Panthers' 5-2 win.

Gudbranson, who picked up a roughing minor in the immediate aftermath of the hit, went after Cousins again in the minutes after their penalties expired, grabbing the Panthers forward and slamming him to the ice. He unloaded several punches before being pulled away by officials. He received a five-minute major for fighting, a two-minute instigator penalty, and two 10-minute misconducts as the only player penalized on the play. 

"My kids are 85 feet away from that hit, you know what I mean? It’s a terrible hit," Gudbranson said Tuesday, per the team. "I was walking around, pacing through my hallway trying to calm down back at home, just happy that my legs still work.

"That’s the level of danger that was involved with that."

Gudbranson was suspended Monday night under rule 46.2 (Aggressor), while Cousins did not face further discipline for his hit. 

"The rule is the rule, and I got one game for it," Gudbranson said of his suspension. "Just take it and move on."

The 31-year-old will serve his suspension on Thursday as the Blue Jackets visit the Toronto Maple Leafs.