Penguins' respect for Godard grows after fight against Haley

| Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2011

Perhaps NHL officials didn't care for Eric Godard's decision to leave the Penguins' bench during Friday's brawl on Long Island.

To a man, however, his teammates appreciated Godard's gesture.

Godard still has nine games to go on a mandatory 10-game suspension for protecting goalie Brent Johnson, who was sought out by Islanders' forward Michael Haley.

The admiration from his teammates will last considerably longer.

"I don't know if it was possible for Godsy to be any more respected in this room than he already was," left wing Mike Rupp said. "But if it's possible, than he is. He's like a brother."

Godard is an enforcer on the ice, but in the locker room, he typically keeps things loose. Sometimes he wears bow ties, and he always draws a laugh when his team needs it.

"He's a fun guy," defenseman Alex Goligoski said. "Very unique."

Although no one is disputing Godard's suspension — rules are rules, and leaving the bench brings certain consequences — his decision to sacrifice 10 games and $40,000 in salary solidified his place as a team leader.

"Character-wise, I'm not surprised one bit that he did it," Goligoski said. "He's the ultimate team guy."

Many in the Penguins' organization feel at least one of the Islanders should have received a longer suspension than Godard's 10 games. Much like his decision to bolt off the bench, Godard took the suspension in stride as a guy who was simply doing his job.

"Coulda, woulda, shoulda," he said. "It happened. Nothing I can do about it now."

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