Tampa Bay Lightning: Radko Gudas suspended 2 games for High Stick against Nikita Kucherov

(Photo by Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images)
(Photo by Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images) /

Former Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Radko Gudas has been suspended by the NHL Department of Player Safety for his High Stick against Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov.

The name Radko Gudas is well engrained in the minds of Tampa Bay Lightning fans. Gudas was originally drafted by the Lightning with the sixth pick in the third round of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft.

After spending two seasons with the Lightning’s then-AHL Affiliate, the Norfolk Admirals, Gudas would finally make his way to the Lightning’s main roster. He would play 23 games for the Lightning in the 2012-13 season, scoring two goals and three assists for a total of five points.

The six-foot-tall Czech defenseman would spend the next two seasons defending the blue line for the Tampa Bay Lightning. The hashtag #FearTheBeard would become synonymous with Gudas for the incredibly hard hits he’d lay on his opponents.

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On March 2, 2015, then-Lightning Vice President and General Manager Steve Yzerman would trade Radko Gudas, along with a first and third-round pick in the 2015 NHL Draft, to the Philadelphia Flyers in exchange for defenseman Braydon Coburn.

Here we are four seasons later and Gudas is still holding down the blueline for the Philadelphia Flyers. This brings us to Tuesday night at the Wells Fargo Center in Philly. The Lightning led the Flyers 4-2 in the third period with just over four minutes left on the clock.

The Bolts were already on the Power Play after Flyers forward Phil Varone was sent to the box for two minutes for Tripping against Lightning netminder Louis Domingue. The Lightning brought the puck into the offensive zone when the puck was shot into the corner.

Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov quickly chased down the puck with Gudas in tow. Gudas was successful in defending against Kucherov and the puck would eventually end up on the stick of a Flyers player. Both players had their sticks up in the air when Kucherov used his stick against the stick of Gudas to put some separation between the two.

This is where things went awry. In retaliation, Gudas put his free hand back on his stick and brought his stick down in a slashing motion across the head of Kucherov. Immediately, Kucherov reacted by bringing his hands to the back of his head. It wasn’t long before the whistle blew and Gudas was on his way to the sin bin.

Here’s the thing…while the stick to the head of Kucherov didn’t seem to have any significant force behind it, Gudas has a history of this kind of behavior on the ice. As many hockey fans know, the NHL Department of Player Safety isn’t kidding around when it comes to head shots and has every intention of doing everything within their power to curb this kind of behavior.

Due to the fact Radko Gudas is considered to be a repeat offender, the NHL Department of Player Safety has elected to suspend him for two games as a result of the incident on Tuesday night in Philly. This means Gudas will be ineligible to play Thursday night when the Flyers take on the Montreal Canadiens and Saturday night in the big rivalry game against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

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While Gudas still has many fans here in the Bolts Nation, things like what happened on Tuesday night will almost always cause the Bolts Nation to give a serious scowl in his direction. Here’s hoping he gets the message the NHL Department of Player Safety is trying to send and finds other ways to handle things on the ice.