Friday, May 25, 2018
Tampa Bay Lightning

Lightning's Gudas loses misconduct

NEWARK, N.J. — Radko Gudas gets several benefits from having the league rescind Sunday's game misconduct.

The Lightning defenseman saves the automatic $200 fine and, as Gudas said, "I'm just glad it comes off my record," because players with three game misconducts in a season are suspended for one game.

But is Gudas now marked as a player who can be goaded into bad penalties?

"I don't know. Talk to them. I don't know what other teams think," he said.

Gudas, 23, got a 10-minute and game misconduct with 7:09 left in the second period of Tampa Bay's 4-3 shootout win when he angrily broke his stick over the boards in front of the Panthers bench after being squirted with blue Gatorade by Scottie Upshall.

At the time, coach Jon Cooper said referee Tim Peel told him ejecting Gudas was to defuse the situation.

"I respect the call he made. I understand, partially, why he made it," Cooper said, "The 24-hour rule, sleep on it, and everybody got it right in the end."

What it means going forward is less certain.

Lightning D Matt Carle said Gudas has to better control his emotions: "Certainly, he's a very important part of the team, so it was tough to lose him there."

But fellow D Sami Salo said, "He plays his best when he plays with emotion, and that's when things happen. I don't want him to try to control that. That's when he plays his best. I wouldn't blame him for that."

As for Gudas, whose 55 penalty minutes are second in the league, "I don't think there's anything to talk about," he said. "Last time I checked, we were playing the Devils (Tuesday) not the Panthers."

900: D Eric Brewer played his 900th NHL game, and Cooper said he is "playing as good hockey as he has in years."

Brewer, 34, is plus-3. He also is averaging 16:22 of ice time, down from 20:03 last season. Cooper acknowledged Brewer "ultimately may not be happy" about the decreased workload but said it will limit wear and tear and help keep him 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 wear down."

"We have some good balance on the back end, and I'm respectful for whatever they want to do," Brewer said. "Let's do it. It's tough to argue."

NO PANIK ATTACK: Plus/minus often is skewed because it does not identify fault or credit for goals. Still, RW Richard Panik wasn't happy about being minus-9, though he gave it a good spin.

"Every time I step on the ice, there's a weird bounce or weird tip," he said.

Cooper agreed Panik has been hurt by several "bad bounces," and added, "My only concern is Richard having a concern."

"Play the game right," Panik said, "and eventually karma is going to turn it around."

ODDS AND ENDS: Entering Tuesday, C Steven Stamkos and RW Marty St. Louis were first in the league with 11 points on the same goals. … Defensemen Mark Barberio and Keith Aulie were scratched. … The Devils, on the anniversary of Hurricane Sandy, played a scoreboard tribute to the victims.

Damian Cristodero can be reached at [email protected]

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