MONTREAL — Scott Gordon didn’t think Radko Gudas came down that hard on Nikita Kucherov and realizes the league could have come down a lot harder on Gudas.
“It certainly could have been worse,” the Flyers' interim head coach said Thursday. “You never know how it’s going to go. He did it and nobody got hurt obviously, but there’s some history there.”
Gudas declined to comment on his recent two-game suspension, obviously displeased that he’ll also miss Saturday's Stadium Series game against the Penguins during a critical point of the Flyers' season (see story).
Thursday night marks the third game Gudas has missed. The physical, shot-blocking defenseman has been one of the Flyers' more consistent players on the blue line and Gordon admitted there’s some uncertainty among the Flyers' defense core without him.
“He’s played so well that he’s one guy I haven't had to worry about,” Gordon said. “He’s obviously a big loss for us and has played a lot of really good hockey for us.”
The Flyers are 12-2-1 in the five weeks since Gordon paired Gudas with Robert Hagg, which, in turn, has helped the Flyers stabilize the back end.
With Gudas’ suspension and the integration of 22-year-old Philippe Myers, Gordon has elected to shuffle up his blue line by pairing Hagg with Andrew MacDonald, a duo that spent the majority of last season together.
That leaves Myers, playing in his second NHL game, looking to find some chemistry and cohesion with Shayne Gostisbehere. Give Gordon some credit for having the foresight to play Myers on Sunday in Detroit, which went a long way toward developing his comfortability for Thursday's game against the Canadiens.
“It’s huge for sure. I was a little nervous in that first game,” Myers said. “Those first couple of shifts I settled in a bit, but tonight I’m just going to focus in on my game and keep it simple.”
“I think he’s going to go into this game a lot more sure of himself,” Gordon said. “This is a great opportunity for him and I have no doubts that he’s going to do well.”
As the Flyers' seventh defenseman in that 3-1 win, Myers saw time with four different defensemen (see story). Against Montreal, he’ll be paired mainly with Gostisbehere. They took three shifts together in Myers' debut, but still, there’s some unfamiliarity that exists between them.
“We had a little chat after morning skate and we’ll try and talk a lot out there,” Myers said. “We’re two good players and we’re going to try and make plays out there, keep it simple and play our game.”
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