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Update: Gudas suspended three games for illegal hit to the head of Zibanejad

The NHL Department of Player Safety announced Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Radko Gudas has been suspended three games for his hit to the head of Ottawa Senators winger Mika Zibanejad. Gudas had a hearing Wednesday for an illegal check to the head he delivered in a game Tuesday evening.
The Hockey News

The Hockey News

Philadelphia Flyers blueliner Radko Gudas is best known for his physical, smash-mouth brand of defending, but sometimes he can get carried away. Tuesday night’s tilt against the Ottawa Senators was one of those games.

Early in the third period of Tuesday’s game, with a faceoff in the Flyers’ zone, Senators center Zack Smith won the draw back to winger Mika Zibanejad, who was set up high on the circle for a potential one-timer. However, as the puck got to Zibanejad and he attempted to move the puck to his forehand, he was met with a forearm from Gudas, which sent Zibanejad sprawling to the ice:

Zibanejad was able to get to his feet and leave the ice and Gudas was no handed a penalty for the headshot, but that doesn’t mean the NHL Department of Player Safety won’t be taking a look at the play. Gudas’ elbow was clearly high, the head was the principle point of contact and Zibanejad’s head didn’t change position before Gudas made contact.

Following the hit, and after Zibanejad was able to get to the Ottawa bench, he was taken back to the dressing room and the Senators announced that he would not be returning to the game. Whether or not Zibanejad has a concussion won’t have an impact on whether Gudas is suspended, however. That said, if Gudas is suspended and Zibanejad is concussed, the length of the ban could be increased for being a suspension-worthy play that caused injury. Gudas has never been fined or suspended by the league.

Senators coach Dave Cameron was vocal about the hit post-game and told reporters he thinks Gudas could be watching from the sideline.

“I'd be shocked if that's not reviewable and suspended," Cameron told the Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch.

As THN’s Matt Larkin pointed out, the Flyers don’t play again until Friday, which gives the NHL’s Department of Player Safety ample time to look over the play and decide whether or not supplemental discipline is in order for Gudas.

(Video via SomeHockeyVideos)

UPDATE: The NHL Department of Player Safety announced Gudas has been suspended for three games for an illegal check to the head of Zibanejad.

"Gudas lunges upward from a crouched position, raising his forearm and delivering a blow to the head of Zibanejad, dropping him to the ice," the Department of Player Safety said in their suspension video. "This is an illegal check to the head."

The Department added that while Zibanejad was eligible to be hit, but the lunging motion with the extended forearm targeted the head. Combined with the injury suffered by Zinbanejad, the Department of Player Safety chose to hand Gudas a three-game ban. Under the CBA, Gudas will lose $15,994.62, all of which will go to the Players' Emergency Assistance Fund.

The complete suspension video can be seen below:


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