Flyers defenseman Radko Gudas, who has delivered a string of questionable hits and drawn two suspensions, will not be penalized further after drilling Rangers rookie Jimmy Vesey from behind, face first into the boards, a play that drew a five-minute boarding major and a game misconduct on Monday in Philadelphia.
“Gudas does not have time to adjust or avoid the hit once Vesey turns,” according to a statement from the NHL’s Department of Player Safety to CSNPhilly.com on Tuesday.
“We both made the wrong decision,” Gudas told CSN’s Tim Panaccio. “I’m glad he is all right. That’s hockey. It’s tough to take it back. It happened really fast.”
Last season, Gudas received a match penalty for a hit on the Devils’ Bobby Farnham, and knocked three other players out of games with questionable hits — Buffalo’s David Catenacci, Ottawa’s Mika Zibanejad (now a Ranger) and Montreal’s Lucas Lessio. He has received two suspensions.
“I’ve seen that hit many times before from that player,” Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said. “I’ll just leave it at that.”
Gudas took several strides from the left circle before hitting Vesey, who was stunned after his face struck the boards, and lay on the ice for a minute as a scrum broke out between the teams late in the first period. He returned in the second period and scored a goal in the third.
“I didn’t expect that big of a hit, and the next thing I knew I was face first into the glass,” Vesey said. “I got caught off guard a little bit.”
The left wing, who played for Harvard and was in his third preseason game, said after the game that he “felt fine…felt like it kind of woke me up a little bit.”