This week has had two of the biggest player safety issues so far this season. Radko Gudas of the Flyers and Austin Watson of the Predators were both suspended this week.
Radko Gudas was suspended 10 games for slashing Jets’ Mathieu Perreault on November 16. Honestly, this is one of the most brutal penalties I’ve seen. This wasn’t just a classic Brad Marchand slew foot (which is a complete cheap shot); this is worse, and if I say that a play is dirtier than Marchand… it must’ve been pretty bad. Any player that attacks the head or neck of another is despicable. 10 games is a lot to miss, but is it a harsh enough penalty? I personally think it’s enough. It was a very cheap shot and this isn’t his first offense, but 10 games is substantial to miss in any professional sport.
Austin Watson is a different story. Watson was suspended 2 games for boarding against Avalanche forward Dominic Toninato on November 18. 2 games isn’t enough in my opinion. Watson had plenty of time to stop or try to prevent such a hard hit on the unsuspecting Toninato. This hit was intended to cause harm not only due to the fact that he had time to stop, he also left his feet. I feel that Watson should have been suspended 4 games for this hit.
Boys Amongst Men
There’s no question that the NHL is becoming a younger league. Surrounded with such amazing young talent in players such as McDavid and Matthews, there are some other young stars that deserve some exposure.
19 GP, 4 G, 15 A, 19 PTS
Barzal is a speedy young forward with great hockey sense, creativity, and a NHL ready shot. His play making ability has allowed him to rack up 15 assists in just 19 games. Playing second line center with Jordan Eberle as his right winger, the Islanders are hoping to get Barzal into a “shoot first” mentality, but he’s been known for his creativity and his play making ability.
22 GP, 11 G, 7 A, 18 PTS
Keller is someone I have been excited watch play since watching him in the 2015-16 WJC. Coming out out BU a year after teammate Jack Eichel went second overall, Keller was selected seventh overall in 2016. Keller only stands at 5’10, but he is not scared to go to the front of the net and make things happen. Mainly known for his top end scoring ability, there’s no doubt Keller is the future in Arizona.
Auston Matthews missed his first career game Wednesday night vs. Minnesota. We got to see a different looking Maple Leafs team the past few games, but that did not slow them down one bit. Winning five in a row before Matthews returned, the leafs getting Matthews back in the lineup is obviously a huge benefit. The young superstar missed four games due to an undisclosed upper body injury. Matthews returned to the lineup Saturday vs Montreal and did not miss a beat. Scoring two goals in his return, Leafs fans are ecstatic to have their star player back.
Here’s a look at Matthews’ first goal since returning from his injury:
Anders Bjork – undisclosed
Brad Marchand – undisclosed
Vladislav Kamenev – arm
Barclay Goodrow – undisclosed
Tobias Enstrom – lower-body
Marc Methot – knee
Evgeni Malkin – upper-body
A Look Ahead
Will Subban start over Lagace?
McDavid vs. Tarasenko, 11/21
Arizona is winning finally (stay tuned)