Per Larry Brooks, there will be no hearing for Rick Nash for his hit on Tomas Kopecky from last night (video below). The reason that the league gave is that initial contact was at Kopecky’s back, not his head. Honestly, this is a huge break for the Rangers. Nash should have been suspended.
For those that remember last year’s “epic fail” series between the Flyers and the Penguins last year, recall the aftermath of the Game Three bloodbath. Arron Asham was suspended for four games following his intent to injure Brayden Schenn. The Penguins played three more games that series, before bowing out to the Flyers in six. That leaves one game remaining on Asham’s suspension.
This means that Asham will actually need to serve the final game of his suspension on Saturday while the Rangers are in Boston. This leaves the Rangers with a hole to fill on the fourth line for one game.
I reached out to Jim Cerny, who kindly responded that the Rangers will likely deploy Stu Bickel at forward for that game. This was on Monday, about 24 hours before the Rangers placed eight players on waivers.
Brendan Shanahan may have done the Rangers a huge favour by suspending Brandon Prust for game four. In the past few years no team has better utilized an ‘us against the world’ mentality better than the NFL’s New York Giants. Consistently written off by the media, the Giants used that apparent lack of respect and turned it into a huge motivating factor that helped win two Superbowls. They played with a chip on their shoulders.
In many ways the blatant inconsistencies so evident in the NHL’s disciplinary this post season and grievances the Rangers have had throughout the playoffs can be used the same way the Giants used the lack of respect to strive for success. The Rangers; such a close knit, team-first-individual-second kind of team will use the absence of Prust the right way. They won’t be crying over the suspension.
Coach Tortorella has been more than vocal in his disdain for the way Brendan ‘losing league-wide respect by the second’ Shanahan has ruled over his players and the way the NHL’s VP of player safety so often hasn’t ruled against others.
Whether you agree with the suspension or not, Brandon Prust will not be playing in tonight’s Game 4 against the Devils. With the opportunity to build a two game lead, the Rangers will be without one of their warriors and top penalty killers. It’s a blow, but not a blow that can’t be overcome. Unlike with Carl Hagelin, the Rangers have a few options readily available to replace Prust for the one game ban.
Option 1: Brandon Dubinsky
This option is the best option for the Rangers. With Dubi cleared for contact and partaking in optional skates, he is on the cusp of returning to action. It has to be assumed that if Dubi can play, then he will play. Dubi would be a perfect fit to replace Prust, as Dubi can slide in quietly to a fourth line role for this game, and ease back into playoff hockey. Plus, if Dubi comes back, the penalty kill won’t suffer too much with Prust out.
Option 2: Insert Stu Bickel at forward
According to Tom Gulitti (Devils beat writer for The Record), Brandon Prust has received a 1 game suspension for his hit on Anton Volchenkov during yesterday’s game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals.
Once Shanaban posts his suspension video explaining his reasoning, we will be sure to link it here. To be honest, I expected a one game suspension out of this, so I am not really surprised. I guess we are fortunate Anton didn’t miss any time, otherwise this suspension could have been more severe.
Still, this offseason the NHL needs to come up with a more consistent game plan with headshots and suspensions. Everything shouldn’t be so weighted on injury time. More to come on that this summer…
Lets Go Rangers!
Unless you have been living under a rock for the past week, you know that Carl Hagelin was suspended (questionably) for 3 games for elbowing Ottawa captain Daniel Alfredsson in the head during game 2 of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series. Due to this turn of events, the Rangers have lost a key cog in their top line, and one of their biggest speed/forechecking threats.
Chris Kreider was inserted into the lineup in Hagelin’s place for game 3 and acquitted himself well for a pro debut in the middle of a playoff series. By the third period, however, Torts felt that Kreider wasn’t ready to be that guy for the top line and inserted Derek Stepan. The question remains going into Game 4 on Wednesday, who is the right guy to take Hagelin’s spot on the top unit?
Let’s take a look at some possibilities…
- Ryan Callahan- Captain Cally does just about everything for the Rangers, so why not install him on the top line? He could be a huge boon to the forecheck and allow for Richards and Gabby a little more room to operate down low. He also has an unfailing nose for the net, and if those two can generate shots on goal, Cally is a good bet to bang in some rebounds.
- Brandon Dubinsky- Last season’s leading scorer, Dubi would seem to possess the skill set to complement the top line nicely. He has a decent set of hands and can bring some jam to a finesse unit. However, he has had trouble finding the back of the net this season, and has often looked lost between passing and shooting. But, who knows, maybe playing with talent like Gaborik and Richards is just the thing to light the fire under Dubi’s offensive game. Read more »
Per Bob McKenzie, Carl Hagelin has been suspended for three games for his hit on Daniel Alfredsson in Game 2 of the Rangers/Senators conference quarterfinal. Here is Brendan Shanahan’s video explanation.
Update: Per NHL.com, Carkner has only been suspended for one game. Here is Shannys video for Carkner.
Darren Dreger tweets that Andre Deveaux has been suspended three games for his elbow to the head of Florida’s Tomas Fleischmann Wednesday night. With the way the Rangers schedule sits, Deveaux will be unavailable for the Rangers until December 1, when the Rangers take on the Carolina Hurricanes. Deveaux will miss today’s game against Washington, tomorrow’s game against Philadelphia, and Tuesday’s game against Pittsburgh.
Yes, I’m late on this. It was Thanksgiving weekend, and I was busy. Matt Cooke was suspended two games for his blatant blindside hit to the head of forward Artem Anisimov. This suspension means that Cooke will be sitting tonight.
Good to see that Ryan Callahan stuck up for Anisimov. Where was Brashear?
As per Steve Zipay, the Hartford Wolfpack have suspended C Tyler Arnason. Details of the suspension are not readily available right now.
Arnason was signed to a one-year, two-way contract. He is making $100,000 playing with Hartford, but would make $700,000 if he clears waivers and plays for the Rangers, which is highly unlikely (contract details courtesy of CapGeek).