Quarantine life isn’t for everybody. And maybe that’s how we can excuse Washington Capitals enforcer Radko Gudas for his latest rant. The defenseman voiced his displeasure that the league is trying to return at all. The NHL suspended its 2019-20 season on March 12 due to the coronavirus pandemic and most fans, players and staff cannot wait for play to resume.
But Gudas isn’t one of them… The blue liner does not see any practical or safe way to resume play at this time and worries about players’ mental health while being quarantined in a hotel during the remainder of the season.
Gudas made those comments during a golf tournament in Beroun, a town in his native Czech Republic. His words were translated from the interview aired on ČT Sport by Alexandra Petáková of Russian Machine Never Breaks.
“I think we shouldn’t play when the whole world is canceling seasons,” Gudas said. “Hockey would be the only team sport trying to power through it like this. They won’t let us go to the Olympics so we won’t get injured, but they want to keep the NHL season running in these times. If we kept playing, our sport would be swimming against the current a bit.
“Money is money, it’s what currently makes the world go round,” Gudas added. “It’s a bit sad that they are willing to risk the health of so many players for money.”
The NHL is focused on selecting up to four sites to use as “hub cities” in a possible return to play and the list of clubs has been trimmed down. Three Canadian teams — Edmonton, Vancouver and Toronto — are among the teams still in the running, along with Vegas and Minnesota. But Gudas isn’t thrilled about staying locked up in a hotel room in between games.
“I don’t think players would manage to stay holed up in a hotel room the whole summer,” Gudas said. “That’s a step into one’s personal freedom. You can focus on yourself and your family in the summer. Even though everyone spent the last two, three months home, I still think staying in some hotel room all summer is just the right way to end up with depression.”
The Capitals might therefore be worried about his commitment if play resumes and they go on a Stanley Cup run. However, it might be easier to let him go on the free market later on, especially after Gudas has this to say about his team:
“I think there’s no chance [of re-signing with Washington],” Gudas said. “They are grappling with the salary cap. They have young players who will play under contracts more feasible for [the organization]. I think a lot of the guys with contracts about to expire will leave Washington.”