Starting a fight in the final five minutes is a big no-no in the NHL. That’s the lesson Tomas Kopecky should have learned when he received a match penalty for his punch to Michael Del Zotto’s face with only seven seconds left in New York’s 4-1 win over Florida on Friday night. It’s a lesson that should have been reinforced when Mike Rupp took exception and returned the favor with his fists to Kopecky’s face afterwards. It’s a lesson that may conclude with a call from league disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan. His attendance for Saturday night’s game against Montreal hangs in the balance.
Right now, Rangers fans are probably convinced that the “A” on the front of Kopecky’s sweater doesn’t stand for “alternate captain.”
After the game, Panthers head coach Kevin Dineen added a little more fuel to the fire when he said that Del Zotto “deserved to get smashed in the face” and “he got what he deserved.” for delivering a butt end to the back of Kopecky’s head. In a related note, Kopecky also got what he deserved—the aforementioned match penalty for his right cross to Del Zotto’s mug.
Take a look for yourself.