Radko Gudas' game misconduct from Squirt-gate rescinded
The Lightning and defenseman Radko Gudas got some good news Tuesday when the NHL rescinded Gudas' game misconduct he received for Sunday's Squirt-gate incident against the Panthers.
That is an important distinction as a player with three misconducts in a season automatically is suspended for one game. Gudas also saves the automatic $200 fine that comes with a misconduct.
"It's something that works in our favor, so it's good to see," coach Jon Cooper said, and added. "In the heat of the game, calls get made. Coaches disagree with calls all the time, so it's in the nature. I respect the call (referee Tim Peel) made. I understand, partially, why he made it, but I think the league got it right."
"The 24-hour rule," Cooper said. "Sleep on it, everybody got it right in the end, so it's good."
Gudas was given a slashing penalty, a 10-minute misconduct and game misconduct with 7:09 left in the second period of Tampa Bay's 4-3 shootout win over the Panthers when he angrily broke his stick over the boards in front of the Florida bench after Panthers wing Scottie Upshall squirted Gudas with blue Gatorade.
Gudas did not speak to reporters after the game and was reluctant to speak after Tuesday's morning skate for the game at New Jersey.
"I don't think there's anything to talk about," he said. "Last time I checked we were playing the Devils not the Panthers, so I'm focused on the game coming up."
Gudas now leads the NHL with 53 penalty minutes. He also might be seen as a player who can be agitated by opponents and pushed into bad penalties. But Gudas said the incident will have no effect on how he plays.
"I don't know, talk to them," Gudas said. "I don't know what other teams think. I'm trying to move on from that. That's all I got from that."
Teammate Sami Salo said there is no sense trying to limit Gudas' emotions during a game because "I think he plays best when he plays with emotion, and that's when things happen. I don't want him to try to control that. I think that's when he plays his best, and I wouldn't blame him for that."
Other stuff from the morning skate: As expected, Ben Bishop is back in net for the Lightning. Bishop has a 2-1-0 record against New Jersey with a 1.27 goals-against average and .960 save percentage. ... D Eric Brewer plays his 900th game tonight. He is at plus-4 and has just one minus game all season. Cooper said he is playing "as good hockey as he has in a long time." Couple of reasons. First, Brewer came into the season in great shape after a hard-working summer. He also is down to 16:27 average ice time from 20:03 last season. Cooper believes that will limit wear and tear and keep the 34-year-old fresh. "You may not see it on opening night, but you will see it by Christmas time. You will see it by Easter," Cooper said. "That's when guys really start to wear down." Brewer was politically correct when asked about the reduced minutes. "We just do what we're told," he said. "I think we have a good mix. We have some balance on the back end. I'm respectful for whatever they want to do. Let's do it. It's tough to argue." As for his longevity, Brewer is happy. "I enjoy coming to the rink. I enjoy the work and I enjoy the guys," he said. "It's certainly worth it." ... RW Richard Panik is minus-9 this season, but Cooper does not seem concerned. "My concern is Richard is having a concern," he said. "He's just been a product of some bad bounces. You know the saying what comes around goes around? The minuses arre coming around now. Eventually, the pluses will come around." Added Panik, who has zero goals and five assists in 10 games: "Every time I step on the ice there's a weird bounce or a weird tip. I don't have to think about it, just play the game right and eventually the Karma is going to turn around. It will go in the right way. ... Interesting stat from the NHL that Steven Stamkos and Marty St. Louis lead the league with points on the same goal, with 11. ... Tampa Bay has killed 23 of its past 24 penalties.