John Moore and Dan Girardi seeking redemption in Game 2


LOS ANGELES – Two brain cramps, two New York Ranger defensemen looking for redemption. For John Moore and Dan Girardi, Game 2 of the Stanley Cup final will provide a chance to clear the slate and start anew.

For Moore, the dream was put on hold for just a little while. And he’ll finally realize it when he steps on the ice Saturday night for Game 2 of the Stanley Cup final. Wait, check that. Rangers coach Alain Vigneault never talks about his lineup so he would not guarantee that Moore would play Game 2 after coming back from his two-game suspension in the Eastern Conference final. But it would be a shock to not see him in the lineup and for Raphael Diaz not to come out. Read more

Dan Carcillo’s suspension reduced from 10 games to six, can return for Game 4 of Stanley Cup final

Rory Boylen

Dan Carcillo will return to the Rangers this post-season after all, as NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has ruled to reduce Carcillo’s suspension from 10 games down to six.

Carcillo is eligible to return for Game 4 of the Stanley Cup final.

The reason for the change has to do with the appropriate application and interpretation of the rule book. Originally, Carcillo was levied with a mandatory 10-game suspension as spelled out by Rule 40.3:

40.3 Automatic Suspension – Category II - Any player who deliberately applies physical force to an official in any manner (excluding actions as set out in Category I), which physical force is applied without intent to injure, or who spits on an official, shall be automatically suspended for not less than ten (10) games.

Carcillo did not intend to injure Driscoll, but no doubt applied a frustrated physical force to break free. This rule can apply, depending on how you read it and how you see the play.

But as Bettman ruled, Rule 40.4 is more appropriate in this situation: Read more

Message-senders not fooling anybody during playoffs


Ever wonder why the playoffs seem to turn some NHL players into such schoolyard bullies? Because it’s the Cup?

So far in this post-season, we’ve had an epidemic of pitchforks to the privates and a scourge of water-related incidents. Then there was that all-round character guy Derek Dorsett spraying one of the Canadiens flag kids with snow during the ceremonies before Game 5 of the Eastern Conference final. He would then go on to head butt Mike Weaver in the dying moments of the game. Read more

NHL draft combine: Players face their red flags

Ryan Kennedy

The most important aspect of the draft combine (other than the medical testing) is the interview process. All 30 teams get to sit down with as many prospects as they want and get to know the kids. Some teams are nice, some are intimidating. And while the talks are nerve-wracking, some prospects have more at stake than others.

Two of the best examples this year are Josh Ho-Sang of the Windsor Spitfires and Anthony DeAngelo from the Sarnia Sting. Both Ontario Leaguers bring incredible skills to the table – Ho-Sang’s 85 points came from his magical hands and vision, while DeAngelo’s acumen from the point made him the highest-scoring blueliner in the league with 71 points in 51 games.

But the reason DeAngelo only played 51 games was because of two suspensions. In both cases, he was found to have violated the OHL’s harassment, abuse and diversity policy. One of those incidents involved making an “inappropriate statement to a teammate.”

Plenty of stories are floating around the hockey world about the specifics and DeAngelo knows it.

Read more

John Moore’s dirty hit on Dale Weise may prove to be the turning point in Montreal’s favor against Rangers

Dale Weise

John Moore’s vicious blindside hit on Canadiens winger Dale Weise halfway through the third period of Game 5 between New York and Montreal may not only be what gets the Rangers defenseman suspended. It may also be the rallying point for the Habs in the Eastern Conference final, which now heads back to Manhattan for Game Six after the Blueshirts fell 7-4 to Montreal.

Moore blindsided Weise on a late hit that knocked the Habs’ winger loopy – and knocked the helmet off his head, which Moore was clearly targeting – and forced him to the league’s “quiet” room. Weise’s first instinct, other than trying to regain his bearings, was to go after Moore, but Canadiens teammate P.K. Subban wisely guided Weise away and allowed Moore’s act to speak for itself. And boy, does it ever.

It says “suspend me”. It says “this series wasn’t nasty enough yet, so let’s take out one of Montreal’s most important foot soldiers and see if that doesn’t get the Canadiens hating the Rangers as much as they hate the Bruins”. Read more

Daniel Carcillo suspended 10 games for abuse of an official. Did he get off easy?


The Daniel Carcillo verdict is official. The New York Rangers left winger gets 10 games for elbowing linesman Scott Driscoll in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference final against Montreal. In case you’re wondering, that means Carcillo misses the rest of the playoffs unless the Rangers and Habs go to Game 7, the Rangers win, and the Rangers reach a Game 7 in the Stanley Cup final.

If you haven’t seen the fracas yet, which occurred because Carcillo was enraged over the Derek Stepan hit, watch it here:


The league stated Carcillo “physically applied force to linesman Scott Driscoll while being escorted to the penalty box.” Fair enough. Upon reading further into official league rules that fuelled the decision, however, I wonder if Carcillo should’ve received 20 games, not 10.

Read more

See it for yourself – Prust’s ridiculously late hit on Stepan deserves a major suspension

Derek Stepan

More than one suspension-worthy incident took place in Game 3 of the Rangers/Canadiens series – Daniel Carcillo was ejected and should be sitting for at least three games after manhandling an official – but the dirtiest play of the evening wasn’t caught by on-ice officials. However, that doesn’t mean Brandon Prust, the perpetrator of the dirtiest play, will or should escape supplementary discipline for an extremely late hit on Blueshirts center Derek Stepan. In a perfect world (which we should know by now the NHL is not), Prust will be suspended for more games than Carcillo.

You can argue about Prust’s intent to injure when he moved quickly across the ice at Stepan. You can argue Prust didn’t target Stepan’s head. But what nobody can argue is how ridiculously late the hit was. Stepan had already chipped the puck off the boards and far out of the zone by the time Prust barreled into him. Read more

Has Matt Cooke really changed? Hell, yeah!

Matt Cooke

When Matt Cooke of the Minnesota Wild stuck his knee out and caught Tyson Barrie in Game 3 of the first-round series against the Colorado Avalanche, the first instinct was to label Cooke as a clown who had not changed one iota from his reckless past.

That’s understandable. When you have a rap sheet as long as Cooke’s, you’re never going to get the benefit of the doubt. The fact that the NHL actually surprised everyone by making a bold supplementary discipline decision to suspend Cooke for seven playoff game put the exclamation mark on it. I believe the headline we used here at went something like this: “Matt Cooke: Once a rat, always a rat”.

There’s little doubt Cooke got exactly what he deserved when he was handed the seven-game suspension. It’s generally accepted that one playoff game is the equivalent of two games in the regular season, so it was not an insignificant amount of time for him to sit out. The knee on Barrie was a reckless play and it caused the Avalanche to be without arguably its best defenseman and a player who has displayed a penchant for making huge plays in overtime.

Cooke has spent much of the intervening time trying to convince people that he actually has changed since missing the final 10 games of the 2010-11 season and the first round of the playoffs for an elbow to the head of Ryan McDonagh and the incident with Barrie was an isolated one.

As much as it may seem counterintuitive to my stance against recklessness and violence in the game, I believe him. Because prior to the Barrie hit, Cooke has been, relatively speaking, quiet as a church mouse. The only incident in which he was involved was when Ottawa Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson had his Achilles tendon severed on a Cooke hit. Despite a “forensic investigation” by Senators owner Eugene Melnyk, there was no evidence there was any nefarious act or intention.

If you don’t believe that Cooke has actually changed, just look at the numbers. The fact of the matter is that over the past three seasons, Cooke has had more penalties for diving (one) and delay of game for shooting the puck over the glass (one) than he has had for charging (zero).

He has been most guilty over the past three seasons, in which he has played the maximum 212 regular season games, of tripping and interference (including those on the goaltender), penalties of which he has received nine minors. There have been eight minors for roughing and seven for slashing. Cooke has received five unsportsmanlike conduct penalties and four each for highsticking and hooking and two each for crosschecking and holding.

The most telling stat in those numbers is not only the complete dearth of charging penalties, but the fact he has received only three minor penalties for boarding over the past three seasons. And he has not received a major penalty for anything since 2011.

The reason Cooke was considered such a villain was the reckless way that he attacked vulnerable players. But there is ample evidence to suggest he simply does not do that anymore. Until the hit on Barrie, Cooke had proved beyond a reasonable doubt that he was a changed man.

So when Cooke takes to the ice for Game 4 of the Wild’s second-round series against the Chicago Blackhawks Friday night, there is no reason for him to tiptoe his way around the rink. He can play a physical grinding game without going over the line. He has proved it the past three years.