January 21, 2017
In the second period of Saturday night’s Flyers game against the New Jersey Devils, with the play fairly even and score tied at one, Radko Gudas looked like he delivered a pretty darn good hip check against Miles Wood.
Gudas, whose defensive approach is probably best described as “heat seeking missile,” has made plenty of questionable hits in his career. The NHL Department of Player Safety may even have the physical Flyers defenseman's number on speed dial. But this looked like a pretty good play:
The officials didn’t see it that way, though. Gudas received two minutes for clipping, and Wayne Simmonds got another two added on for an unsportsmanlike contact penalty after arguing with the call. The Flyers generally didn't go out of their way to rip the refs after the game, but needless to say, they didn't agree with the initial call.
"I didn't think it was a penalty at all, so not sure what the call was there," Gudas said.
"It's an excellent hit by Guddy," Dave Hakstol later added.
After the call, the “Ref, you suck!” chants rained down from the stands with what felt like record-setting fervor in South Philly, not an easy feat. In fact, you could still hear those chants when Kyle Palmieri scored on the two-man advantage to make it 2-1 New Jersey:
"I'll take the blame for that," Simmonds said of his penalty. "I got an extra two, that's my fault. They scored a goal to make it 2-1, that's the momentum changer right there."
"Momentum changer" is probably an understatement. At that point in time, the wheels completely came off for the Flyers. They took a couple of bad penalties, allowed a couple of bad goals (one on a botched line change), switched goaltenders in between periods (although they later said it was due to "precautionary reasons"), and eventually took a 4-1 loss at home to New Jersey. In other words, the Orange and Black completely unraveled.
That makes it 12 losses in the last 15 games for the Flyers, who weren't able to get a point in their first game out of the bye week. After putting together a 10-game winning streak a little over a month ago, they're already pretty close to seeing their season slip away.
Follow Rich on Twitter: @rich_hofmann