Radko Gudas was burned by his reputation Wednesday and it will cost him from playing in two of the Flyers' biggest games this season.
The NHL's Department of Player Safety handed down a two-game suspension for Gudas' high-sticking infraction to the head of Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov during the third period of the Flyers' 5-2 loss Tuesday at the Wells Fargo Center.
Gudas is classified as a repeat offender under the terms of the CBA and his history of such penalties bit him in this circumstance, as he'll miss Thursday's road game against the Canadiens and Saturday's Stadium Series game against the Penguins at Lincoln Financial Field.
On top of the suspension, the Flyers' defenseman will also forfeit $81,707.32.
Here was the review and reasoning behind the decision from the NHL's Department of Player Safety:
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 supplemental discipline be it a warning, a fine or a suspension.
What causes this play to rise to the level of a suspension is Gudas' disciplinary history, specifically his history of similar behavior.
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
Prior to this incident, Gudas had been hit with suspensions of 10 games (2017-18), six games (2016-17) and three games (2015-16).
The 28-year-old has cleaned up his play significantly this season, becoming one of the Flyers' most reliable defensemen. Gudas owns a team-best plus-12 rating and his penalties have been down compared to years past. He also plays the Flyers' second-most penalty-kill minutes (159:16), while leading the team in hits (197) and blocking the third-most shots (101).
His absence opens the door for 22-year-old prospect Philippe Myers, who has played just one NHL game — his debut last weekend. It marks a huge opportunity for Myers to prove himself to the coaching staff and general manager Chuck Fletcher.
"Phil Myers can help this team win right now, too," Fletcher said Feb. 9.
"He's still a young man and really, his key time will be next year at training camp and earning a full-time spot for a full season. But right now, if we can get him some experience, practice seems great, being around the team is great, if he can get some games, that'll only help him as he prepares for next year."
The Flyers entered Wednesday six points out of the Eastern Conference's second wild-card spot with 22 games remaining. Two teams they're chasing in the playoff hunt are the Canadiens and Penguins, both of whom have 71 points compared to the Flyers' 63.
Meanwhile, Gudas wasn't the Flyers' only defenseman in trouble Wednesday. Robert Hagg was fined $3,091.40 for interference on Cedric Paquette during Tuesday's game.
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