Different fans with different rooting interests will see the same play in different ways. But most people agree that Andrew Ference’s hit on Ryan McDonagh at the end of the game was dangerous. It was a shove in the middle of the back of McDonagh that caused an injury to the Rangers defenseman.
People can argue whether Ference is a dirty player or not—but it’s clear this was an unsafe play to a player in a precarious position (despite what the NESN announcers may have said). More importantly, it’s exactly the type of play that the league has been cracking down on this season to protect the players’ safety. We’ll see what kind of suspension is handed down from Brendan Shanahan and Co.—but we do know that the league has already set up a phone hearing with Ference.
Then there’s Don Cherry. He agreed that it “wasn’t a good hit,” but he didn’t exactly see it the same way as most people on Coach’s Corner. He went on to say that part of the onus should have been on the New York Rangers because they didn’t hold up Ference and allowed him to pursue McDonagh too quickly. He went on to say that that McDonagh needed to be aware of which players were on the ice for the opponent.
It certainly looked like a textbook example of a check from behind—the same kind of check from behind that has been suspension-worthy all season. But as Cherry implied, do any of the Rangers have ANY culpability in this situation?