John Moore suspended 2 games for check to head; Rangers coach defends him
New York Rangers defenseman John Moore was suspended on Wednesday, and to the surprise of no one it’s exactly the same number of games that Montreal Canadiens forward Brandon Prust received for his late hit on Derek Stepan earlier in the series: two games for an illegal check to the head.
Here’s the NHL Dept. of Player Safety explanation:
So the Rangers will be without Moore for Game 6 on Thursday night and then either Game 7 or Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final. He’s skating 14:05 per game and has appeared in 17 of them. Former Canadiens defenseman Raphael Diaz will likely take his place in the lineup.
As the dulcet tones of Patrick Burke mentioned, Weise was eligible to be checked on this play, meaning the hit wasn’t as late as, say, Prust’s was on Stepan. But the problem for Moore is that the principal point of contact was Weise’s head, which led to the 5-minute major and game misconduct in Game 4 on Tuesday night, as well as this suspension.
This of course runs counter to whatever Alain Vigneault thought he saw on the play, as the Rangers coach said Wednesday:
“Well, the player 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.”
So, basically, completely the opposite of what he said after the initial play on Tuesday night: “The league will do what it has to do. It was a late hit and it was the right call on the ice.
Someone has Michel Therrien disease …