For the first time this season, the Flyers have found themselves in the crosshairs of the NHL Department of Player Safety, and it's defenseman Radko Gudas who finds himself paying the price for a bad hit thrown on Tuesday night on Mika Zibanejad of the Ottawa Senators.
The points in the video here are all valid. It points out that Gudas went up from a crouched position, put a forearm into the head of Zibanejad, and ultimately made head contact on a hit where it was avoidable.
As such, the hit -- which did not receive any penalty call on the ice -- was deemed worthy of supplemental discipline. Furthermore, the fact that Zibanejad was injured on the hit** increases the penalty that Gudas faces for it. So Gudas, who has long had a reputation as a hard hitter and has had some borderline hits in the past but has not been suspended prior to today, will sit for three games -- this Friday at New Jersey, this Saturday against Columbus, and next Tuesday against the Islanders. He'll be eligible to return on December 10 in St. Louis against the Blues.
Gudas had actually been playing some fairly good hockey of late alongside Michael Del Zotto, so it will be interesting to see how the Flyers replace him during this time. There's no word yet on Nick Schultz's availability after he was injured this past Saturday in New York; if he can go, he will obviously slot into the lineup in Gudas' place, but if he can't, the team will have to find a short-term replacement. We'll see what happens in the next couple of days.
** A quick point of clarification on this front, as it frequently is forgotten when these types of decisions come out: whether or not a player gets injured on a hit does not factor into the DoPS's decision to suspend a player for a hit. In other words, a hit that would not have got a player suspended does not become suspension-worthy due to injury. Where it does come into play is in determining the length of a suspension for a hit that has been deemed suspension-worthy. Which is all to say that in this case, Gudas' hit would have been suspension-worthy without Zibanejad being injured, and the fact that he was injured served to increase the length of the suspension.