The Rangers’ John Moore was having a decent Game 5. That is, until he made a poor decision to lay a high hit on Montreal’s Dale Weise. As a result, Moore will miss the Rangers’ next two games. He’s been suspended by the NHL for an illegal hit to the head.
Moore was given a match penalty for intent to injure by referees Steve Kozari and Brad Watson.
“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,” said Rangers coach Alain Vigneault after the game. Montreal coach Michel Therrien agreed. “I thought it was the right call on the ice.”
Vigneault spoke further on Wednesday morning, before Moore’s hearing, saying, “[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.”
The Habs’ Brandon Prust delivered a similar his to New York’s Derek Stepan earlier in the series, breaking Stepan’s jaw.
Prust was not penalized on the play, but later received a two-game suspension — the same punishment levied on Moore.
Here’s the league’s analysis of the play, via Patrick Burke:
Burke notes that Moore “drives up and into Weise, delivering a hit that makes [Weise’s] head the main point of contact. This is an illegal check to the head.” He goes on to add that, unlike Prust’s check on Stepan, was not a late hit. “Weise is eligible to be checked on this play. The time between his realease on the puck and the moment of contact is within established NHL standards. However it is also important to note that Weise makes no sudden movements prior to or simulatenous with this hit that contributed to his head being the main point of contact. […] While Moore does make incidental contact with Weise’s right shoulder, the angle taken and the elevation of the hit result in Weise’s head absorbing the brunt of the impact.”
While Weise initially appeared to be uninjured on the play – he returned to the game a short time later – he has since been reported to have a concussion.
Fact that Dale Weise (concussion) is injured is one of the reasons that John Moore is suspended. Direct hit to the head in that case.
— Renaud Lavoie (@renlavoietva) May 28, 2014
To me, the most troubling thing is the fact that Weise was allowed back in the game. And so soon.
— Katie Strang (@KatieStrangESPN) May 28, 2014
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.
From the NHL:
New York Rangers defenseman John Moore has been suspended two games for an illegal check to the head of Montreal Canadiens forward Dale Weise during Game Five of the teams’ Eastern Conference Final series in Montreal on Tuesday, May 27, the National Hockey League’s Department of Player Safety announced today.
The incident occurred at 10:41 of the third period. A match penalty for illegal check to the head was assessed to Moore.
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