Radko Gudas Knocks Over Daniel Catenacci, But Did He Break the Rules

It seems as though Radko Gudas the Philadelphia Flyers defenseman comes close to supplemental discipline each month of the season.

It is not a coincidence, as he plays deliberately on the edge in each game. It is what makes him such a tough defender to play against and it is what has him flirting with disciplinary problems more often than not.

The NHL suspended him in December after he hit Mika Zibanejad in the head, but he has also been found to not have broken the rules in a number of other incidents during the season.

Those included a hit in October to Viktor Stalberg’s head and a gruesome hit to Lucas Lessio that he was ejected for but did not get suspended for clipping just a few weeks ago.
The most recent incident involving Gudas was the huge blow on Daniel Catenacci the rookie center for Buffalo on Thursday.

Jack McCabe a defenseman for the Sabres went for street justice by immediately having a glove throw down with Gudas following the incident.

The fight, which comes after nearly every big body check in the game today, was not surprising. The big question is if Gudas technically did anything incorrect.

Based upon the definition of the league of an illegal head check, Gudas was arguably within the rule. He did not pick the head of Catenacci. He did not angle toward the head of Catenacci and he did not extend his own limbs to create more force.

In addition, Catenacci clearly put himself in a position of vulnerability prior to contact.

So, while the Flyers defender could see a substantial ban due to being a repeat offender, the guess here is he will get off once again as it appears he was within the rule of the game.

When Marc Savard’s career was likely ruined by Matt Cooke in 2010, hockey fans were outraged. At that time, rule 48.1 did not exist. Per the NHL rules then, Cooke did not commit an offense that called for a suspension and due to that he was not suspended.

A new rule was needed to make hits such as the one Cooke took to become illegal. While Gudas will likely get off as it appears he did not break a rule, it is fair to believe that the NHL should have some amendments made to add to the rule that would broaden its definition and punish predatory behavior properly like it should be.

One thing is for sure, the next time the Sabres and Flyers face off, the game will have its share of big hits followed by thrown downs.

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