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.”
Near the end of the first period of the Devils/Habs game in Montreal, Erik Cole hit rookie defenseman Adam Larsson with a hit to the head. Cole was penalized two minutes for an illegal hit to the head, while Larsson headed back to the locker room to recover from the hit. Thankfully, he was able to return to action in the second period.
It certainly looks like Cole caught the vulnerable Larsson with an elbow as he tried to curl around the net. As the announcers mentioned, this was one of those “drive-by” hits that Brendan Shanahan and Rob Blake have been watching closely.
Was the head the principle point of contact? Absolutely. Was the player in a vulnerable position? Check. But Larsson was also bending down as he reached for the puck. Does that mean that Larsson changed the position of his head enough for Cole to escape punishment?
We through this out to the readers: Should Erik Cole be suspended by the NHL for this hit on Adam Larsson? The comment section awaits.
From Pens TV Online, here’s video of Pittsburgh captain Sidney Crosby addressing the media following practice (in which he didn’t participate.) The big news of the day, of course, is that Crosby won’t be back on the ice Tuesday after sitting out games against the Flyers and Islanders.