It feels like Flyers defenseman Radko Gudas flirts with supplemental discipline once a month these days. It’s hardly a coincidence, as he deliberately plays on the edge every night. It’s what makes him a tough brick of a man to play against, and it’s also what has him courting significant trouble so often.
He was suspended in December for a hit to the head of Mika Zibanejad but has also landed on the right side of the law after several other incidents this season, including a blow to the head of Viktor Stalberg in October and a hit on Lucas Lessio that got Gudas ejected but not suspended for clipping a couple weeks ago.
The latest Gudas incident: this huge blow on rookie Buffalo Sabres center Daniel Catenacci Thursday night. Behold:
The hit from Calgary Flames defenseman Mark Giordano was crisp and clean. The ensuing throat slash from the victim, Toronto Maple Leafs center Nazem Kadri, was a bit vulgar, enough to warrant a review from the NHL’s hockey operations department, but relatively harmless.
Quite concerning, however, were Kadri’s post-game comments about the incident.
“I think I said ‘(You’re) done,’ ” Kadri told reporters. “But, like I said, the whole situation was a bit fuzzy.”
Kadri added the incident was “something I don’t really remember doing. I was kind of in and out after the hit.”
We have ourselves a problem.
What happens to an attempt to injure match penalty when the attempt to injure is actually successful? Well, not much if you’re talking about the NHL, which ignores and justifies suspendable acts with mind-boggling regularity.
Take the Wayne Simmonds sucker punch on Ryan McDonagh Saturday afternoon, for example. In another decision that makes the Department of Player Safety the most spectacular oxymoron since jumbo shrimp, Simmonds skated away with nothing more than a game misconduct for sucker punching McDonagh of the New York Rangers in the head. And McDonagh got away with a double minor for a stick offense that was gratuitous and unnecessary. Give the NHL credit, at least it manages to baffle, confuse and infuriate everyone with its decisions.
Dennis Wideman has already missed two games due to suspension, but the Calgary Flames defenseman may have a shot at coming back before his 20-game ban is up if he can win an appeal.
Wideman, 32, was handed his lengthy suspension on Feb. 3 for a hit he delivered to linesman Don Henderson. The check on Henderson was deemed abuse of an official by the league. The hit occurred on Jan. 26 and Wideman was initially suspended indefinitely pending a hearing, but the suspension wasn’t handed down until following the all-star break when Wideman met with Hockey Operations to discuss his actions.
ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun reported that Bettman’s decision will impact where Wideman’s appeal goes. Should Bettman not reduce the suspension to less than six games, Wideman will have the right to having his appeal heard by a neutral party. According to Lebrun, the neutral party would be James Oldham, who has operated in the role of neutral arbitrator since 2004. Read more
Alexander Burmistrov is the seventh player this season to be fined for diving, as he joins teammate Nikolaj Ehlers as players who have been flagged for embellishment twice this season.
The NHL announced Wednesday that Burmistrov picked up a $2,000 fine for diving during a Jan. 26 game against the Arizona Coyotes, the Jets’ final game before the all-star break.
Trying to head up ice in the third period, Burmistrov ran into the stick of Coyotes defenseman Michael Stone and flopped to the ice. Arizona’s bench was immediately motioning to referees that Burmistrov had embellished the play, but to no avail. Stone was handed a tripping minor and Burmistrov headed to the Winnipeg bench: Read more
The NHL announced Thursday morning that Winnipeg Jets center Alexander Burmistrov has been fined $2,000 for violating Rule 64, which deals with diving and embellishment. Burmistrov is the seventh player to receive a fine for diving, joining teammate Nikolaj Ehlers, Jordin Tootoo and Bobby Farnham of the New Jersey Devils, Jannik Hansen of the Vancouver Canucks, Zack Smith of the Ottawa Senators, and Teemu Pulkkinen of the Detroit Red Wings.
The NHL, which fines players and coaches on a graduated scale for such infractions really seems to have a bee in its bonnet for players who repeatedly dive and embellish in an attempt to draw penalties. Talk to any of the “hockey people” in the league’s head office and they see diving as an enormous blight on the game.
There’s a good chance Calgary Flames defenseman Dennis Wideman will become the first player in NHL history to have his suspension appealed to an independent arbitrator, but that’s not what will make this process so interesting over the next little while.
As has been widely reported, Wideman was suspended 20 games for abuse of official after crosschecking linesman Don Henderson from behind in a 2-1 loss to the Nashville Predators. The NHL Players’ Association has already filed an appeal on Wideman’s behalf, which is expected to be heard by NHL commissioner Gary Bettman early next week. If a further appeal is necessary, it will go to James Oldham, the league- and NHLPA-appointed independent arbitrator.
We’re likely going to hear a lot over the next little while about Dennis Wideman’s “intent” when he drilled linesman Don Henderson from behind, an action which earned him a 20-game suspension from the NHL for abuse of official.
There is the camp that believes there was no ill intent on Wideman’s part, that it was an unfortunate accident and that Wideman was perhaps a little dazed from the hit along the boards that he took from Nashville Predators winger Miikka Salomaki, a hit that occurred about 8.65 seconds before Wideman took Henderson out with a crosscheck from behind.