Thursday, Flyers defenseman Radko Gudas brutally slashed former Capitals forward Matheiu Perreault in the head in an incident that made its way around the hockey world. Gudas was assessed a five-minute major and a game misconduct and Sunday, the NHL’s Department of Player Safety handed down its verdict on supplemental discipline for Gudas
Gudas was suspended 10 games without pay by the DOPS. He will lose over $400,000 in salary.
From the NHL press release:
Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Radko Gudas has been suspended for 10 games, without pay, for slashing Winnipeg Jets forward Mathieu Perreault during NHL Game No. 284 in Winnipeg on Thursday, Nov. 16, the National Hockey League’s Department of Player Safety announced today.
The incident occurred at 9:50 of the first period. Gudas was assessed a major penalty and game misconduct for slashing.
Gudas is considered a repeat offender under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement and, based on his average annual salary, will forfeit $408,536.60. The money goes to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.
Here’s the slash:
“He apologized in the penalty box, but when you look at the replay it looks like he did it on purpose,” Perreault said after the game. “It wasn’t an accident. I think he’s been known for doing stuff like that. I certainly don’t appreciate it but I’m sure the league will take care of it.”
This sort of play is not just reckless, or something that is just a part of the game. It’s a cheap, dirty play, and is incredibly dangerous, especially with the blow coming perilously close to the head. This play needs to be taken out of the game.
Over the 2016-17 and 2017-18 seasons, there are only two other on-ice incidents that have resulted in a 10-game suspension. Antoine Vermette of the Anaheim Ducks was suspended for “physical abuse of an official” in February of 2017.
And just a few days ago, Red Wings forward Luke Witkowski was suspended for returning to the ice after being escorted off by an official.
(The only on-ice incident resulting in a longer suspension in the past three years was Raffi Torres’ vicious headshot in a 2015 preseason game.)
It is well understood in and around the league that disrespecting officials and jumping into fights off the bench are both unacceptable. But, the Gudas slash was clearly malicious. A message needed to be sent around the league that this play would not be tolerated by the league, and while the suspension is lengthy, the NHL could have even suspended Gudas longer. If the NHL wants to completely oust forcible contact above the shoulders, the league needs to make it clear that it will come down hard. Really hard.
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