Pavel Papiskar, a writer for Ceska Televize in the Czech Republic, recently interviewed Washington Capitals defenseman, Radko Gudas. Ideally, Gudas would still be playing for the Capitals this year, but he does not expect to return to the team after this season. The following is a translation of the article.
While participating in a golf tournament in the town of Beroun, Gudas said, “I don’t think the season should be played when all the other hockey leagues in the world have cancelled their seasons. Hockey is probably the only team sport pushing it like that. They didn’t let us go to the Olympics due to fear of injury, but now they want to continue the NHL season. If we continued to play, our sport would go a little against our natural rhythm.”
Gudas continued, “And while money makes the world go round, It is a bit sad that because of money, they are willing to risk the health of so many players.”
According to Gudas, a huge problem would arise if a hockey player became infected with coronavirus. “When one guy catches it, it basically will spread through the whole league within a week. Given the schedule where they have everyone play each other. One misstep and the season could be canceled, again. The question is whether it makes sense to go there, given this risk.”
Gudas believes the NHL would lose its atmosphere and charm in empty stadiums. “If you’re doing well, the audience pushes you to win. When you’re losing, fans can sometimes wake up the whole team. Without that background, the magic of hockey in the NHL is lost. It could be played here in Beroun and it would work out the same way.”
He doesn’t support the proposal of the season being extended through July or August, with the teams isolated without families for several months. “I don’t think players can be locked in a room all summer. It also encroaches into our personal freedom. In the summer, you normally can focus on yourself and your family. Now everyone has been home for two or three months, but to spend the summer somewhere in a hotel room is depressing.”
Gudas’ team, the Capitals, are third in the Eastern Conference after playing 69 of 82 NHL regular season games. The Caps are also struggling with a salary cap. If the NHL season resumed, Gudas would complete the season with them. But he would likely not play with the Caps after that.
He said, “I don’t think there is a chance. They are already fighting against the salary cap. They have young players there and they will play under contracts that will definitely be more acceptable to them. I think the players whose contracts expire after this season will leave Washington.”
At the end of March, he returned home to the Czech Republic from the USA and has not yet considered any new contract offers during the break. “I believe I will stay in the NHL. Several teams need help with defense. At the moment, I keep fit and sometimes I look at the e-mail to find out what it looks like with the league. We talk to teammates. We write to one another. That’s probably all we can do. I’m waiting for the free agent market to open.”
“With my record, I can play anywhere. I don’t decide where and for how long. For any new contract offers, I’ll deal with it on the spot. The family will go wherever I go. I’m lucky, nobody had any major health conditions.” Gudas is currently the father of three children.
The original article from Ceska Televise can be found here.
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