Flyers left winger Chris VandeVelde received a two-game suspension Friday for an elbow to the head of his former North Dakota linemate, Chicago center Jonathan Toews.
The play occurred late in the first period of the Flyers' 3-2 win in Chicago on Wednesday. Toews was able to continue playing.
A spokesman for the NHL's department of safety said VandeVelde's hit to Toews' jaw came from the blindside, and "while this was not an extremely predatory or violent hit, it is still a reckless elbow to an opponent's head" and merited supplemental discipline.
It is the first career suspension for VandeVelde, who will forfeit $7,661 in salary.
VandeVelde and Toews played together at North Dakota - the team was coached by Dave Hakstol, now the Flyers coach - and are good friends. "We keep in touch...we even talked about it after the game and he wasn't mad," VandeVelde said. "He was the first one to say I'm an honest player and not dirty. He even sent me a text and said, 'Don't worry about it.' "
Having coached both players in college, Hakstol said, "I know the two players involved and I know there wasn't any intent" to injure.
Before his phone hearing with the NHL, VandeVelde got some pointers from frequently penalized Flyers defenseman Radko Gudas about the proceedings.
VandeVelde has helped the fourth line and penalty-killing unit excel over the last month. He will not be able to play Saturday against Pittsburgh or Monday against the Islanders.
Even if VandeVelde had not been suspended, there's a chance he would have been taken out of the lineup to make room for Jake Voracek's expected return from a foot injury.