Not only is Nikita Kucherov continuing his incredible offensive season, but now he’s drawing suspensions too. Radko Gudas will have a hearing today with the Department of Player Safety after high-sticking Kucherov in last night’s Philadelphia Flyers-Tampa Bay Lightning game. With Kucherov’s back turned and the puck already on its way out of the zone, Gudas brought his stick down hard on top of the Lightning forward’s head. Gudas did receive a minor penalty on the play.
This is not the first time that Gudas has faced supplementary discipline, in fact far from it. The Flyers defenseman has been suspended three times in his career, most recently for a similar play against Winnipeg forward Mathieu Perreault. In that instance, Gudas was given a ten-game suspension for what was admittedly a more violent slash to the head. Still, the fact that he has a long history with the Department of Player Safety will certainly not work in his favor this time around.
Kucherov appeared to not suffer an injury on the play, but the league will be sure to protect their leading scorer and potential Hart Trophy winner. The Lightning forward has 99 points already and snapped a five-game multi-point streak against the Flyers. It’s been an outstanding year for the entire Tampa Bay organization, but Kucherov especially has been at another level than the rest of his NHL competition.