Radko Gudas is building himself a reputation, one that won’t benefit him or the Flyers in the future. In less than a week of pre-season hockey, Gudas has made headlines with his physical play and borderline to dangerous hits.
On Monday at the Wells Fargo Center, Gudas got a five-minute major boarding penalty and a 10-minute game misconduct for a hit on Rangers rookie Jimmy Vesey. Gudas didn’t receive a suspension for the hit, but public opinion on him wasn’t exactly great. Then, on Saturday against the Boston Bruins, Gudas delivered a late hit on Austin Czarnik.
Gudas boarding minor; Czarnik appears to be injured on the play pic.twitter.com/grsVvbHUCX
— Stephanie (@myregularface) October 8, 2016
Whether it was the fact that Czarnik was injured because of the hit, or because Gudas drew attention to himself with two questionable hits in three days, the Department of Player Safety decided to hand Gudas a long suspension. After declining an in-person interview with the department, Gudas was given a six-game suspension. Gudas has always been known for his physical style of play. It sometimes gets him into trouble, but he’s only been suspended once before.
“Obviously, I do have a lot of hits throughout the season, so if you have three or four questionable hits out of 250 or 300 hits per year, I think that’s a pretty good number. Accidents happen and everything isn’t always perfect, but I’m never targeting a guy to get him hurt or anything like that.” Gudas told Darren Dreger.
Gudas doesn’t play with an intent to injure people, but there are rare occasions that he does. His suspendable hits seem more like bad decisions than conscious attacks. In his hit on Czarnik, Gudas follows through on a hit by raising his arms. He never comes off of his feet, though. “Not trying to hurt anybody, but as I said accidents happen and obviously others are not always happy about that”.
Gudas has delivered plenty of borderline hits, but he’s also been able to hold himself back when reminded what he shouldn’t be doing. Last season after a meeting with General Manager Ron Hextall and coach Dave Hakstol, Gudas turned himself into one of the Flyers top defensemen. He has the ability to play physical without walking this dangerous line. This suspension could be what keeps him from turning into another (more skilled) Zac Rinaldo.
His new four-year deal shows that the Flyers have faith that he can reel himself in. Gudas will miss the three-game road trip to start the season and the home opener against Anaheim on October 18th and two more games after that against Carolina and Montreal respectively.
His suspension and Michael Del Zotto’s injury make the emergence of Ivan Provorov that much more important to a team looking to finally have a good start to the season.
“I think this is a great reminder of (the importance) of quality at every position,” Hakstol said. “We’ve got quality on the blue line.”
Brandon Manning will travel with the team and should be ready to play on opening night. With injuries to Scott Laughton and Michael Del Zotto and now two players serving a suspension, The Flyers can take either a 7th defenseman or a 13th forward with them on the road trip, but not both. If they call up a defenseman, he’ll probably spend the trip in the press box so it’s not likely a younger guy gets the callup. T.J. Brennan is the most likely candidate to be added to the road trip.