The New York Rangers have a lot of reasons to be mad after losing tonight in Philadelphia 4-1 to the Flyers. The main reason they’re really upset, however, has more to do with a no-call against Flyers agitator Dan Carcillo. Early in the third period, Rangers forward RuslanFedotenko was cutting back through the zone and appeared to start falling to the ice when Carcillo came roaring through towards him and connected with Fedotenko’s head with an elbow. Fedotenko went down on the ice and play was stopped but he did not leave the game injured. No penalty was called on the play. You can see video of the hit here on YouTube.
After the game, both Fedotenko and Rangers head coach John Tortorella were angry at the lack of punishment on the hit. Andrew Gross of Rangers Rant has the quotes. First from Coach Tortorella:
Q: Do you have a problem with that [Daniel] Carcillo hit on [Ruslan] Fedotenko?
“Sure, why wouldn’t I. What do we talk about? We get these tapes sent to us during the summer and the beginning of the year. Why send them? It’s a waste.”
Fedotenko’s response to the hit is expected, but what the referee said to him about the hit is far more interesting.
Q: I know that you had a chance to talk to the referee in front of the net when the whistle was blown a little bit later. I guess you didn’t get an explanation?
“No. He said I shouldn’t try to avoid the hit. I mean, I was looking for the puck and trying to shoot it so I didn’t even see him coming until the last second. ‘Don’t duck’ was his explanation.”
Don’t duck, eh? Tough to do if you’re already falling to the ice. I’d imagine the NHL will also have a word with the referee in this case as well as Carcillo. With the new rule regarding blows to the head, it’s no longer completely up to the players to totally avoid these hits, especially if you don’t see the guy coming. Swallowing the whistle in these situations makes things about 1,000 times worse. It also means the referee saw the hit and didn’t call anything anyway. So much for knowing the rule book.
As for Carcillo, he told Flyers Files’ Chuck Gormley that he’s expecting to hear from the NHL about the hit.
“I saw him in the middle of the ice and the puck was there,” Carcillo said. “He kind of went down right when I got to him. My elbows were in. I know it looks bad, but I didn’t try to hit his head or anything.
“I don’t think anything (Tortorella) says is going to change anything. It is what it is. It’s not like I took strides toward him. I know they’re cracking down on that, so I imagine I’ll get a phone call.”
Obviously the Rangers have other problems with their own game and the Flyers are getting used to having extra-curricular distractions regarding actions on the ice, but there’s an interesting juxtaposition here tonight. Joe Thornton of the Sharks got booted from the game for a blindside hit to Blues forward David Perron, having a rather obvious dirty hit go unpunished in a game that was already amped up with fights and physical play makes for fascinating discussion on the new rule regarding head shots. If you were expecting consistency from the officials on these matters, perhaps your expectations were a bit too high.