The NHL’s Department of Player Safety has suspended Radko Gudas two games for high sticking Tampa Bay Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov. The incident occurred late in the third period of Tuesday’s game between the two teams and resulted in a minor penalty being assessed to Gudas.
Philadelphia’s Radko Gudas has been suspended for two games for High-sticking Tampa Bay’s Nikita Kucherov. https://t.co/4Y7iLoWauk
— NHL Player Safety (@NHLPlayerSafety) February 20, 2019
Gudas is a repeat offender and this suspension seems very light given not only the severity of the action (despite the contact not being as impactful as it could have been) but also due to Gudas’ history of making a similar play just one season ago.
His previous two-handed slashing to the head of Winnipeg Jets’ forward Mathieu Perreault cost Gudas 10 games. It’s weird, then, that as a repeat offender, Gudas is now getting only 20% of that suspension. Especially considering these aren’t the only two suspensions in his career.
In 58 games this season, Gudas has scored two goals and 13 points.
Below is the Department of Player Safety’s video explaining their thought process and the suspension followed by a full transcript of the video.
Full Transcript From NHL’s Video
Tuesday night in Philadelphia, Flyers’ defenseman Radko Gudas was assessed a minor penantly for high-sticking Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov.
As the video shows, while on the power play, the Lightning enter the Flyers’ zone on the attack. The puck is sent into the corner and Kucherov and Gudas pursue the puck. Gudas defends Kucherov well, causing the puck to move to a Flyers’ player.
Kucherov shoves at Gudas with his stick to get Gudas away from him. With his stick already up in the air, Gudas puts his free hand back on his stick, then brings it down in a two-handed motion onto the head of Kucherov. This is high sticking.
While we agree with Gudas’ assertion that this slash is not excessively forceful or violent, this is an intentional play by Gudas. A player who intentionally brings his stick down onto the head of an opponent with a two-handed slashing motion can expect to be penalized by the on-ice officials and, in most cases, be met with some form of supplmental discipline; be it a warning, a fine or a suspsension.
What causes this play to rise to the level of a suspension is Gudas’ disciplinary history. Specifically his history of similar behavior.
In November of 2017, Gudas was suspended 10 games for slashing his stikc in a chopping motion on the head and neck area of Winnipeg’s Mathieu Perrault. While there are notable differences between the two plays, this is another case of Gudas retaliating on an opponent with a two-handed stick to the head.
As part of our efforts to change player behavior and in accordance with the collective bargainaing agreement, the Department of Player Safety will increase a player’s discipline when he repeatedly violates NHL playing rules. No matter how forceful the impact he makes is, Gudas must stop using his stick to target the heads of his opponents.
To summarize: this is high sticking. Gudas is classified as a repeat offender under the terms of the CBA. The Department of Player Safety has suspended Radko Gudas for two games.
Brandon Share-Cohen has covered the NHL and various professional sports for six years. Working with The Hockey Writers, Brandon works extensively on covering the Boston Bruins in addition to his role as the News Team Lead.