The New York Rangers disagree with the NHL’s decision to let Kris Letang off the hook.
“We might feel it seems deliberate,” Vigneault said, per the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
“The NHL doesn’t see it that way and the referees on the ice at that time didn’t see it that way. So just gotta deal with it and focus on the next game.”
This is not the first time this season that Vigneault has not seen eye-to-eye with the Department of Player Safety. Recall Matt Beleskey‘s hit that injured Derek Stepan in November, and what Vigneault thought of that. (Beleskey was not suspended.)
Via Greg Wyshynski of Yahoo Sports, here’s why the league chose not to discipline Letang:
1. Letang is off-balance due to the hit. Check his skates – they’re both off the ice as his stick is raised to Stalberg’s head.
2. Now check the left arm of Letang on the slow-motion replay. As he absorbs the Moore hit, his left arm slams against the glass, and as it does his stick – which he’s carrying dangerously high already – snaps into the neck of Stalberg. The NHL believes his left glove or the end of his stick catches a stanchion on the glass. The hit by Moore causes him to twist and makes the stick go forward into Stalberg’s neck.
3. Therefore, the NHL sees this as an accident and not intentional.
Watching the video, it does appear possible that Letang’s stick accelerated forward into Stalberg’s face after the butt end made contact with the corner glass.
Feel free to disagree. That’s what comments sections are for.
But for the record, here’s what Letang had to say:
And here’s what Letang’s coach, Mike Sullivan, said: