On Saturday, Rangers forward Viktor Stalberg left the game after sustaining a “head injury” due to the vicious hit above by Flyers defenseman Radko Gudas. Not surprisingly, he missed Sunday’s game against the Flames. Emerson Etem replaced him in the lineup.
Initially, I was up in arms over the hit. There was no penalty called on the play. The league also didn’t discipline Gudas. I decided to take another look.
On the play in question, a prone Stalberg releases the puck and is leveled by a Gudas right shoulder making chest contact first. It’s important to note that Stalberg was caught leaning which left him exposed. Honestly, the hit looked worse than it was due to the severity of the injury. Unfortunately, it’s probably a concussion.
After reviewing it closely, Gudas just steps up on Stalberg and delivers a good clean hit. As much as we try to label him because he plays for the Flyers, there was nothing wrong with it. In the old days, Scott Stevens did that to many players including a unsuspecting Ron Francis below:
Sometimes, we overreact to these hits. In both instances, each player was caught with their head down. Both hits were shoulder to chest. Case closed.