New York Rangers defenseman John Moore has been suspended five games for an illegal check to the head of Minnesota Wild forward Erik Haula.
The incident took place at 7:12 of the second period in Monday night’s game between the Rangers and Wild at Madison Square Garden. Moore was given a match penalty for intent to injure. Haula did not return to the game.
From the NHL rulebook, an illegal hit to the head (Rule 48) is defined as “a hit resulting in contact with an opponent’s head where the head was the main point of contact and such contact to the head was avoidable.” It’s pretty clear that was the case on this playe. Referee Gord Dwyer hit Moore with a match penalty for deliberate intent to injure on the play, which saw the Rangers blueliner tossed from the game. (Note: There’s no major penalty or game misconduct for an Illegal Check to the Head. It’s either a minor penalty or a match penalty.)
Moore’s been through this before. In last year’s Eastern Conference Final, he was suspended two games for a very similar hit on Montreal’s Dale Weise.
Moore is considered a repeat offender. Under provisions of the CBA, repeat offenders – those with multiple suspensions within a rolling 18-month window – have their fines calculated differently. Fines will be assessed at a per-game basis instead of per-day calculation, resulting in a greater fine.
In all disciplinary reviews, full player history beyond 18 months is taken into account to determine the severity of the supplemental discipline and potential suspension.
Given the extra weighting for playoff games and the repeat occurrence just 14 games later, Moore’s suspension of five games sounds about right, if not a little light. The league needs to ramp up discipline for these types of plays to get them out of the game.