Wednesday night’s Game 5 against the Montreal Canadiens at the Bell Center was an all-around bad night for the New York Rangers. The Blueshirts saw Henrik Lundqvist pulled from the net and their game-tying comeback thwarted by Montreal’s go-ahead goal scored just one minute after New York evened the score. Montreal’s 7-4 victory staved off elimination, cutting the Rangers’ lead in Eastern Conference Finals to 3-2. The seven goals allowed were the most by the Rangers since the third game of the regular season, when they were blown out 9-2 in San Jose.
Now the Rangers may find themselves going into Game 6 without two players: defenseman John Moore and Derek Dorsett.
John Moore Elbows Dale Weise
Down by two goals midway through the third, the Rangers were trying to find a spark. Seeing an opportunity for a big hit, John Moore came across the ice and leveled Montreal’s Dale Weise.
The hit was similar to the one delivered by Brandon Prust on Derek Stepan that left the Rangers’ center with a fractured jaw. His follow-through on the hit brought his elbow up, which made it look worse on the ice. Adding to the visual impact of the play was Weise’s helmet flying off.
(Seriously, guys, strap those things on. It looked like there was no injury on the play, but with his helmet gone, Weise was susceptible to a potentially-serious head injury when he hit the ice.)
Moore was given a five-minute major for elbowing and a match penalty for intent to injure. Per Rule 21.1, Moore is also suspended until the league reviews the play.
“The league will do what it has to do. [Moore] was penalized on the ice. John is definitely not the type of player to try to hurt someone, but it was a late hit and it was the right call on the ice.” – Rangers coach Alain Vigneault, after the game.
Montreal coach Michel Therrien agreed. “I thought it was the right call on the ice. We all saw it. [The Department of Player Safety] will decide what they’re going to do after.”
This morning, Vigneault’s thoughts on the hit have changed slightly:
“I know the league standard very well because of the Rome hit a couple years ago in the Boston series against my former team in Vancouver, and it doesn’t meet the league standard as far as a late hit. It was a hit that Johnny [Moore] caught him a little high in the chest, player didn’t see it coming. It probably warrants the penalty that was given on the ice. Other than that, I don’t see what else it could warrant, but I’ve beeised before. We’ll see what happens.”
“[Weise] didn’t see him coming, obviously, but the guy was admiring his pass a little bit at the same time. Unfortunately, it was a hit and because of the force of the hit, the head seemed to snap back a little bit. But as far as what I know about league standards and from what I heard from the Prust hit where the dynamics of the hit changed because Stepan was hurt, I don’t see that at this time right now.”
Rangers defenseman John Moore will have a hearing Wednesday for an Illegal Check to the Head of Montreal forward Dale Weise.
— NHL Player Safety (@NHLPlayerSafety) May 28, 2014
Based on the precedent set by Prust’s suspension earlier in the series, the league will likely suspend Moore for 1-2 games. One if Weise is uninjured; two if he sustained an injury on the play.
With Moore out of the lineup, expect former Montreal Canadien Raphael Diaz to step in on the third defense pair. He’s suited up for just two games this postseason – Games 3 and 4 against Pittsburgh.
Derek Dorsett Head-Butts Mike Weaver
This play was a few notches down in terms of injury potential but much higher on the stupidity scale. Late in the game, with the Rangers frustrated and tension high, tough guy Derek Dorsett head-butted Habs defenseman Mike Weaver:
Rule 47 covers head-butting. Had the officials seen the incident, the minimum penalty for an attempted head-butt is a double-minor. Successfully connecting on the attempt – as Dorsett did – would result in a major, with a match penalty if there was an injury on the play.
With the call missed by the on-ice officials and no injury on the play, this one won’t be more than a game. More likely, we’ll see a fine for Dorsett. Based on his salary, the fine would be less than the $5,000 maximum.
Worse for the Rangers: Brandon Prust will be back in the lineup for Montreal. His two-game suspension has ended, and the gritty winger is expected to suit up Thursday night at Madison Square Garden.
UPDATE – Bourque also under review
The league is also looking into the cross-check by Montreal’s Rene Bourque that earned him a game misconduct after the final buzzer.
Not too sure of the actual punitive impact of a game misconduct penalty issued after the game, aside from compounding puposes for potential suspensions. Rule 23.5: In Playoff games any player who incurs a total of two (2) game misconduct penalties for stick-related infractions […] shall be suspended automatically for the next Playoff game of his team. For each subsequent game misconduct penalty in this category during the Playoffs the automatic suspension shall be increased by one game.
Much like Dorsett’s play, I’d be suprised if it was anything more than a fine.
— Renaud Lavoie (@renlavoietva) May 28, 2014
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