Gudas avoids suspension for Palmieri hit that inspired Zajac fight

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Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Radko Gudas might be on the Department of Player Safety’s speed dial list – probably somewhere near Zac Rinaldo and Brad Marchand – but it sounds like he won’t get a call from the NHL this time around.

Last night, Gudas’ odd hit on Kyle Palmieri caused tensions to boil over between the Flyers and Devils in New Jersey’s eventual 4-3 win. As you can see in the video above this post’s headline, the fallout also inspired Travis Zajac to shockingly go after Gudas, and to Zajac’s credit, hold his own quite well.

The Athletic’s Justin Bourne reports that Gudas will not face supplemental discipline for the check, and also provides a great in-depth look at why it was likely accidental, not to mention why teams respond to big hits (whether they end up being deemed dirty or not). The NHL’s Department of Player Safety hasn’t tweeted about a hearing with Gudas, so this seems to back up Bourne’s account.

Amanda Stein of the Devils’ website gathered some thoughts on the hit after the game. While head coach John Hynes gave a no comment, Palmieri wasn’t happy with the check, arguing that Gudas has lost the benefit of the doubt.

It seems like the NHL disagrees and views it as an accident.

The Devils and Flyers face off one more time in the regular season: a Feb. 13 date in New Jersey. One might assume that Gudas should keep his head on a swivel, even if Zajac and others aren’t as angry about the hit as time passes, the emotions level out, and they see additional replays.

Really, neither team is likely to go too far unless the score gets really lopsided, as both the Flyers and Devils are in tight battles for playoff positioning. Such stakes should make that meeting worth watching more so than the threat of violence.

(Side note: as mentioned before, Gudas went 21 games without even taking a minor penalty following his 10-game suspension from earlier this season, with Thursday ending that trend in a dramatic way. Maybe that remarkable run of discipline serves as evidence that he’s at least attempting to drop some bad habits?)

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.