NHL suspends Flyers tough guy Riley Cote three games and warns team

TORONTO – The NHL has suspended another Philadelphia Flyers player and told the club to clean up its act.

Tough guy Riley Cote got a three-game suspension for a vicious elbow on Matt Niskanen of the Dallas Stars late in a 4-1 loss Saturday night. Cote got a match penalty on the play.

He’s the fifth Flyer this season to get suspended following Steve Downie, Jesse Boulerice, Randy Jones and Scott Hartnell.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and league disciplinarian Colin Campbell held a conference call with Flyers GM Paul Holmgren on Monday.

“They’re all different in their own right (the suspensions), but the fact that it’s happened this number of times to us and hasn’t happened to a lot of other teams, it’s concerning to the league as it is to us,” Holmgren told The Canadian Press. “We’ve just got to play a little smarter. We want to play a hard game, an aggressive game, a physical game, but there’s been instances where we’ve crossed the line.

READ ALSO:  Johnson's goal helps Blues snap six-game skid in 3-2 victory over Kings

“And we’ve just got to play more of a smart, physical game.”

So from now on, the Flyers are on watch.

“We were kind of put on notice more than anything and that’s fine,” Holmgren said from his Philadelphia office. “We understand the consequences and we’ve just got to be a smarter team.”

The Flyers’ other suspensions:

-Hartnell got two games for checking Bruins defenceman Andrew Alberts in the head in a game last Monday.

-Jones was given a two-game suspension after he sent Boston’s Patrice Bergeron face-first into the boards on Oct. 27. Bergeron hasn’t returned to action since he broke his nose and sustained a concussion as a result of the hit.

-Boulerice was handed a 25-game suspension for his cross-check to the face of Vancouver’s Ryan Kesler in an Oct. 10 game.

-Downie got 20 games after flying down the ice, jumping through the air and delivering a hit to the head of Ottawa’s Dean McAmmond during a pre-season game.