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Ron Hextall calls Radko Gudas’ suspension “on the heavy end”

The defenseman added that he was “surprised” by the length of the punishment.

NHL: Ottawa Senators at Philadelphia Flyers Derik Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

VOORHEES – Radko Gudas found out on Monday that he won’t be suiting up for the Flyers for the first six games after the NHL Department of Player Safety dished out the punishment for his hit on Boston’s Austin Czarnik.

On Tuesday, he had a chance to share his reaction of the news.

“I was surprised,” Gudas admitted. “I can’t really say if its fair or unfair. I just think it was a surprising one for me.”

His general manager, Ron Hextall, had the same thought on the league’s ruling.

“I think it was on the heavy end,” Hextall said.

“[Gudas] plays a hard game. Everybody knows the guys in the league that play a hard game and [Gudas] is one of those guys. That’s not a negative. We like guys that play hard and [Gudas] plays a physical game ... when he hits, there’s impact.”

Gudas said the league office told him it was the “lateness of the hit” that crossed the line. This is Gudas’ second suspension in less than a year. He was handed a two-game suspension on December 3 for an illegal check to the head of Ottawa’s Mike Zibanejad.

The most recent ruling comes on the heels of Gudas escaping punishment for another questionable hit, that one being on New York’s Jimmy Vesey along the boards that resulted in a game misconduct.

The defenseman said the league wasn’t lumping the Vesey hit with the Czarnik hit. He does, though, feel he’s being watched closely by the NHL.

“I think I was on their radar the last two seasons,” Gudas said. “I don’t think it changes much for me. I just need to make sure I’m aware of these situations.”

“He’s a teammate and a team member and we’re going to support him as we move forward and work with him to make him the most effective player he can be,” said Flyers head coach Dave Hakstol.

With Gudas on the shelf for the first two weeks’ worth of games, Brandon Manning will fill in for his absence. Manning, who has been dealing with a “week-to-week” injury of his own this camp, appears to be a go for Friday’s contest.

“He’s been sharper and sharper every day,” Hakstol said. “He hasn’t missed any time on ice.”

Going back to Gudas, on a lighter note, as teammate and fellow Czech native, Jake Voracek, walked out of the room, he voiced his opinion to the media circle around Gudas: “He’s innocent.”

The suspension hasn’t diminished his reputation around the locker room and doesn’t seem to be weighing all too heavily on the Flyers brass, who praise Gudas for being an “effective” player, but the league begs to differ on the whole innocent part.