Stop us if you’ve heard this one before…
Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Radko Gudas has been suspended.
The bruising blueliner will sit for two games after high-sticking Tampa Bay Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov.
The chop came at 15:52 of the third period when the two teams met on Tuesday in Philadelphia. Gudas was given a minor penalty for high-sticking by referees Graham Skilliter and Jake Brenk.
Flyers interim head coach Scott Gordon wasn’t expecting a suspension for Gudas.
“That was a pretty soft stick to the helmet,” Gordon said after Tuesday’s game. “I mean, there’s no chance of an injury. It’s not like it was vicious or anything. I think just bringing his stick down from where it was— and if I’m not mistaken I think (Kucherov) picked his stick up in the process. There was no intent there. It wasn’t like what we saw a week ago [when Penguins forward Evgeni Malkin was suspended one game for high-sticking Philadelphia’s Michael Raffl]. I don’t know. I don’t think there will be anything.”
The NHL’s Department of Player Safety felt otherwise, hitting Gudas with a two-game suspension for his stickwork.
“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 on to the head of Kucherov,” offers the Department of Player Safety video. “This is high sticking.”
Gudas asserted in his phone hearing with he league that the slash was not forceful or violent – a claim that Player Safety agreed with – though the league noted that it was still a deliberate, retaliatory action.
“What causes this to rise to the level of a suspension is Gudas’s disciplinary history – specifically, his history of similar behavior.”
Player Safety cited their previous decisions to suspend Gudas 10 games for a slash to the head and neck of Winnipeg’s Mathieu Perreault.
“This is another case of Gudas retaliating against an opponent with a two-handed slash to the head,” the league advised in the video. “Gudas must stop using his stick to target the heads of his opponents.”
Gudas forfeits $81,707.32 in salary as a result of the suspension. Because of his status as a repeat offender, his salary loss is based on a per-game basis rather than on a per-day basis.