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October 10, 2016

Radko Gudas suspended six games to begin season

One week ago, Radko Gudas avoided a suspension after receiving a game misconduct for a big hit on New York Rangers forward Jimmy Veasey. Over the weekend, he wasn’t able to escape supplemental discipline and the Flyers will start the season in a hole because of it.

The 26-year-old defenseman was suspended six games after his check on Boston Bruins forward Austin Czarnik in the Orange and Black’s final preseason game on Saturday:

As a repeat offender after serving a three-game suspension last season for a hit on Ottawa's Mika Zibanejad, Gudas was punished more severely for this interference penalty.

On Tuesday after Flyers practice in Voorhees, Gudas expressed that he was surprised by the suspension.

"Yeah, obviously we talked about it on the call and they didn't like the lateness of the hit," he said. "That was a little bit over the line, that was the main thing they were discussing.

"I can't really say if it's unfair or fair. I just think it was surprising for me."

And for Dave Hakstol, who had talked with Gudas after the Veasey hit, he's still not nearly as annoyed with Gudas as, say, Howie Roseman is with Lane Johnson.

"No, absolutely not," Hakstol said when asked if he is angry with Gudas. "Gudy is a part of our team and he's a big part our team. We need him to be an effective player for us and that's what my focus is on."

And so much for the logjam on the blue line, huh? As of now, the Flyers only have five healthy defensemen on the 23-man roster in Shayne Gostisbehere, Mark Streit, Andrew MacDonald, Ivan Provorov, and Nick Schultz.

Brandon Manning, who was dealing with an upper-body injury, should be good to go for Friday’s opener at Los Angeles. Even if Manning is ready to go, the question remains if the Flyers decide to call up a defenseman like T.J. Brennan or perhaps Samuel Morin from the AHL.

Despite the constant threat of a suspension, Gudas proved a useful player last season for the Flyers. Losing him for six games is a fairly big blow to a team hoping to get off to a rare fast start.

Gudas will be eligible to return October 25th when the Flyers take on the Buffalo Sabres at home. He said that he's not worried about building up a reputation after multiple suspensions.

"I think I was on their radar the last two seasons, so I don't think for me this changes much," Gudas said. "I just got to make sure I stay aware of these situations, these plays."

Follow Rich on Twitter: @rich_hofmann