Radko Gudas has walked the fine line between playing with an edge and crossing into suspension territory, but he finds himself suspended for six games after a late, high hit.
Radko Gudas made a name for himself during the 2015-16 campaign for playing as close to the edge as possible without finding himself suspended, but it doesn’t appear the Philadelphia Flyers rearguard will be escaping supplemental discipline after his high hit injured Boston Bruins prospect Austin Czarnik.
The NHL’s Department of Player Safety announced Sunday that Gudas, 26, will have a hearing for his hit on Czarnik, which occurred during Saturday’s pre-season game against the Bruins. It’s not just any old phone hearing, though, as Gudas was offered but waived his right to an in-person hearing. That means a suspension of five-plus games is possible.
The hit, which occurred in the third period of the contest, came after Czarnik spun to throw a pass back to the blueline with the Bruins on the attack. As Czarnik spun, he kept his eyes on the puck and didn’t see Gudas, who was approaching from behind. Gudas followed through and hit a seemingly unsuspecting Czanrik with a check that looked to catch him square on the chin.
It’s far from surprising to see Gudas’ name in the same sentence as suspension, but the fact is he has been able to walk the line between clean and dirty better than any other player, for what that’s worth.
Gudas flirted with suspension on a number of occasions throughout the 2015-16 campaign and was involved in a number of potentially suspendable plays, but he actually only ended up sitting out once after receiving a three-game ban for a hit to the head of then-Ottawa Senators center Mika Zibanejad in December.
The Department of Player Safety won’t use the occurrences in which Gudas has avoided supplemental discipline when it comes to ruling on his hit on Czarnik, but it’s near certain that some firm discussions will be had, especially considering this isn’t even the first time this pre-season — and not even the first time this week — that the league has had to review a play that Gudas was involved in.
During a game between the Flyers and New York Rangers on Monday, Gudas came under fire for a hit on rookie Jimmy Vesey, but escaped any punishment. The reason Gudas was able to avoid discipline was that it was determined that a clean hit turned dirty when Vesey changed his body position at the last moment.
UPDATE: The NHL's Department of Player Safety has come down hard on Gudas, slapping him with a six-game ban for interference, adding that he made "significant head contact" on the play.
"In addition to the lateness of this hit, Gudas makes significant and forceful contact with the head of Czarnik," the Department of Player Safety said in the suspension video. "It is a combination of the lateness of this hit, and the forceful, substantial head contact, that causes this hit to rise to the level of supplemental discipline."
The Department of Player Safety added that Gudas' past suspension, as well as Czarnik's injury, factored into the suspension length. Gudas will not be eligible to get back into action until Oct. 25 when the Flyers host the Buffalo Sabres.
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