BOSTON _ Radko Gudas, the Flyers' most physical defenseman, was spared a suspension for a nasty hit on the Rangers' Jimmy Vesey recently, but he may not be as fortunate for his latest infraction.
And if he is suspended for Saturday night's third-period shoulder-to-the-head hit on Boston rookie center Austin Czarnik, it would leave the Flyers in an unwanted position for Friday's regular-season opener in Los Angeles _ being short an extra player in case of an injury.
The NHL's Department of Player Safety is expected to rule on Gudas on Sunday, and it would not be surprising if he was suspended.
Then again, the NHL has been so inconsistent in its rulings that nothing can be assumed.
The burly Gudas delivered the hit with 14:13 remaining in regulation of the Bruins' 1-0 overtime win, and he received a two-minute boarding penalty. Unlike Vesey, the 5-foot-9, 167-pound Czarnik did not return to the game.
That won't help Gudas' case.
Afterward, Boston coach Claude Julien criticized the 6-foot, 204-pound Gudas, calling the hit "late."
"Somehow, he seems to have a knack of getting himself in trouble every game," he said.
Gudas, 26, was suspended once last season, but he came close to several other suspensions. He showed much more discipline in the last few months of last season, and in June he signed a four-year, $13.4-million extension..
Forward Brayden Schenn is suspended for the first three games of this season. Suspended players count toward the 23 roster spots.
That means the Flyers would only be able to have 21 spots filled if Gudas is suspended. Twenty players dress for a game, so the Flyers would have to decide whether to take an extra forward or defenseman on the three-game trip.
If the Flyers are short two players, they might take an extra defenseman, figuring if a forward was injured that a defenseman like Shayne Gostisbehere could move to wing for some shifts.
If Gudas is suspended and the Flyers decide to add a physical defenseman, Sam Morin might be recalled from the Phantoms.
Defenseman Brandon Manning is not able to play because of a shoulder injury, but there is a chance he will be ready by Friday's opener. If ready, he could find himself in the starting lineup.