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Bolts ‘don’t like to be pushed around,’ lead NHL in fights

Oct 24, 2013, 11:01 AM EDT

GudasPunch Getty Images

A curious development from this season is all the punches being thrown in Tampa Bay.

The Lightning lead the NHL with 10 fights through their first eight games and, according to defenseman Radko Gudas (who leads the team in scraps, with three), it’s all part of establishing identity.

“It’s what we’re trying to build here,” Gudas told the Tampa Bay Times. “We don’t like to be pushed around, and we don’t like when some guys think they can lay out our top guys and not pay for it.”

As for head coach Jon Cooper? He’s OK with the fights as well, lauding Gudas for taking on Boston’s Jarome Iginla during a 5-0 drubbing by the Bruins on Saturday.

“I have zero problem with that,” Cooper said. “That’s two tough guys getting in each other’s kitchen trying to stick up for their team and themselves.

“That’s a big part of our makeup, and will continue to be in the future.”

All of this is very interesting given what Tampa Bay GM Steve Yzerman said in early October. Yzerman turned heads by speaking out against fighting, suggesting players should get game misconducts for dropping the mitts.

“We penalize and suspend players for making contact with the head while checking, in an effort to reduce head injuries, yet we still allow fighting,” Yzerman explained. “We’re stuck in the middle and need to decide what kind of sport do we want to be.

“Either anything goes and we accept the consequences, or take the next step and eliminate fighting.”

When asked about how those ideas mesh with his current club and Cooper’s coaching philosophy, Yzerman was blunt.

“I just want to win games,” he told the Times. “I don’t tell the coach how to coach the team. We’re not going to tell players to fight or don’t fight.

“I just want them to play good hockey.”

  1. madtolive5 - Oct 24, 2013 at 11:13 AM

    Yeah looks like Tampa is going to the school of Buffalo, to learn how to play “tough”
    Cheap boarding penalties by Gudas and then defending himself is not being tough….

  2. dropthepuckeh - Oct 24, 2013 at 11:28 AM

    Hard for me to find any fault with Yzerman, he is a class act. Ironic though to say the least.

    I had the pleasure of going to a game in Tampa on Saturday (Bruins) and I was very impressed. It was a great crowd, awesome building and all around really fun. The score helped but the building itself is impressive.

    • jpelle82 - Oct 24, 2013 at 4:45 PM

      ironic because yzerman was quoted just mere weeks ago saying how the league needs to ban fighting….yet his team leads the league.

  3. rahavort - Oct 24, 2013 at 11:48 AM

    Iginla showed this dude who is boss

    • jb8588 - Oct 24, 2013 at 12:51 PM

      And “this dude” Gudas showed Iggy who’s boss with the hip check.

      • rahavort - Oct 24, 2013 at 1:24 PM

        Hence the fight, where Gudas got shown who is boss

  4. upper90cheese - Oct 24, 2013 at 12:12 PM

    Yzerman runs his mouth now, but while playing he always had the likes of Bob Probert and Joey Kocur to defend him. Hypocrite.

  5. buddysguys - Oct 24, 2013 at 12:25 PM

    i though tthis brand of hockey was beign eliminated?

  6. jb8588 - Oct 24, 2013 at 12:48 PM

    As a Bolts fan…this is awesome to see. Our team has had the softest D for quite a few years, and it was just truly painful to watch. It’s about time the team started toughening up.

  7. boltsfan777 - Oct 24, 2013 at 1:50 PM

    I love watching Gudas make those old-school open ice hip checks.

  8. crazemastercraze - Oct 24, 2013 at 2:15 PM

    I wish humans would stop pretending to be so above it all and acting like they give half a toss about one another. Fighting is in our make up. Either ban it out right or have a coke and a smile and shut up about it already. I’m about as sick of hearing about fighting as much as I am about weather the Redskins name is offensive or not. Sheesh

  9. csilojohnson - Oct 24, 2013 at 9:21 PM

    did you only read the headline jpelle or are you mocking the writer?

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