This is poor sportsmanship from Radko Gudas.
Florida Panthers defenseman Radko Gudas screamed in the face of Toronto Maple Leafs’ rookie goalie Joseph Woll after Florida eliminated Toronto in Round 2 of the NHL Playoffs on Friday night. Panthers forward Nick Cousins scored in overtime of Game 5 to propel Florida to the Eastern Conference Final.
Following Cousins’ series-clinching goal on Woll, Panthers defenseman Radko Gudas decided to yell in the face of the Toronto goalie. Woll is only 24 years of age and making his first NHL playoff appearance. It’s not good sportsmanship from Gudas to yell in the face of a rookie goalie.
Check out Nick Cousins scoring on Woll to win the series, followed by Gudas screaming in the goalie’s face:
Screaming in a rookie tendy's face is so badass pic.twitter.com/CNqJx23NfX
— ًًً (@twistedleafs) May 13, 2023
Getty Images photographer Steve Russell captured an incredible shot of Gudas screaming in Woll’s face. While we don’t agree with the gesture, this is a great NHL hockey photo that will be remembered for a long time.
Taunting NHL opponents is part of hockey, but doing it after a hard-fought series just seems classless. Perhaps Gudas was caught up in his emotions and not really thinking about what he was doing, but it was still a bad look regardless.
Woll was thrown into the series after Leafs’ original playoff-starting goalie Ilya Samsonov went down with an injury in Game 3. Woll played really well in relief of Samsonov, appearing in five games and posting a .902 save percentage for the Leafs.
Gudas is known for his physicality and is among the NHL hit leaders in the Stanley Cup Ploofs. He’s contributed two assists in 11 postseason games, while sporting a plus-7 rating. Unfortunately, instead of being remembered for his play on the ice, fans will remember this classless gesture after the series was over.
There are times when taunting your opponent is viewed as gamesmanship, but in this instance, it feels like an unnecessary and classless way to end what was an otherwise great hockey game.