Former Washington Capitals goaltender Michal Neuvirth and current defenseman Radko Gudas are ex-Philadelphia Flyers teammates and brothers-in-law. Ahead of the start of the 2019-20 season, Gudas spoke to the Czech media via iSport.cz about Neuvirth’s move to Toronto on a PTO and his own expectations for the upcoming season with the Capitals. (Yes, the same Czech outlet where Neuvirth once said Braden Holtby was “my weakest competition yet.”)
“I’m looking forward to the winning atmosphere of the team,” Gudas told iSport.cz, as translated by RMNB’s Alexandra Petáková. “They’ve been among NHL’s top teams for the past five years, everyone there knows how to win. The Capitals won the Stanley Cup a year ago, so I’m sure they’ll want to win it again. I think summer is too long for them this year, I’m sure they’ll all be motivated. I’ll be honored to be a part of one of the best teams in NHL.”
Much like his time with the Flyers, Gudas will also have some fellow countrymen on the Capitals in defenseman Michal Kempný and forwards Jakub Vrána and Richard Pánik, which should make the transition to the Capitals roster a little bit easier.
“It’s great,” Gudas said. “I’ve known Kempas [Michal Kempný] since we were kids, we’re the same age. Havran [Jakub Vrána], I’ve known since he came to NHL. And on top of that they signed Ríša Pánik, who I played with in Tampa. I’ll be happy to see them. I’m glad I’ll have a Czech on the team, or someone speaking a similar language. It’s always a plus.”
It remains to seen whether Gudas’ “Havran” (or “rook”) nickname for Vrána will catch on in Washington — a play on the meaning of Vrána’s name, which translates from Czech to “crow” — but it is clear that the 29-year-old defenseman is looking forward to joining the team.
But when iSport.cz asked what Gudas was most looking forward to, he said, “I’m looking forward to stuff like not having to block Ovi’s shot anymore, I won’t have to defend against Kuznetsov flying down the ice. It’ll be nice to be on the same team with players like Tom Wilson, Garnet Hathaway, and others.”
Gudas has yet to meet Ovechkin, or any of the other Capitals players, though a few have contacted him since he was traded to the Capitals in exchange for Matt Niskanen on June 14th.
The topic of Gudas’ move to Capitals wasn’t all that the Czech defenseman discussed with iSport.cz. Former Capitals goaltender Michal Michal Neuvirth was given a PTO with Toronto, which his brother-in-law and countryman, Gudas, was pleased about for him.
“I think it’s great,” Gudas said of his former-Flyers teammate. “Everyone knows he’s a good goaltender. He’s confident. The last season didn’t work out for him the way he wanted because of injuries, but before that he’d played as much as he could, [won] Philadelphia a few games, he even almost won a whole playoff series for us. I believe Toronto will have a lot of use for him if he stays healthy.”
Gudas and Neuvirth spend the summer close together, due — in part — to them now being part of the same family, since Neuvirth and Gudas’ sister, Karolina, married. When questioned about how their relationship was, since Neuvirth and Karolina married, Gudas said it was “The best it can be.”
Headline photo: NHL.com
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