December 02, 2015
In the NHL Department of Player Safety’s mind, this was not a Gudas hit.
I have been watching some of the Terminator movies recently, and witnessing Radko Gudas play hockey isn’t all that dissimilar. The 25-year-old Flyers defenseman, who has done a pretty good job all things considered (53% Corsi-For at 5v5), plays with a seek-and-destroy mentality. If there is a hit to be attempted, Gudas will go for it. His 117 hits rank second in the entire NHL.
There is major risk to playing that style on a consistent basis. Take Tuesday night’s game in Ottawa for example. Gudas leveled Mika Zibanejad directly off a faceoff (not an obvious time to sell out for a big check, mind you), and the main point of contact looked to be the Senators forward’s head:
For the hit, Gudas received a three-game suspension. That means at New Jersey on Friday and home against Columbus and the Islanders Saturday/Tuesday are a no-go. He’s eligible to come back next Thursday in St. Louis.
Flyers fans might wonder why Zac Rinaldo’s hit on Sean Couturier wasn’t suspension-worthy, while Gudas got three games (especially because the NHL cited injury as a factor). To be honest, I’m not quite sure, either. But with his style of play, Gudas was likely going to be hit with a suspension sooner or later.
From the Flyers, here is Gudas' statement:
"I don't necessarily agree with the league's decision but I accept and respect it, and I'll move on from here and prepare myself for when I return."
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