As you can see in the video above, Reaves was shaken up after getting tangled up with Subban. Opinions may vary, but Rangers coach Gerard Gallant didn’t believe Subban was malicious toward Reaves.
“I don’t think it was a vicious hit or a slew foot,” Gallant said, via The New York Post’s Larry Brooks. “But you know, when you see a guy get hurt and guys step up and do a little bit of a response there, that’s what you want.”
Indeed, the Rangers did respond. Specifically, Chris Kreider challenged P.K. Subban to a fight later in that game.
At the moment, Gallant considers Reaves day-to-day with a lower-body injury. Perhaps the outlook will change, but right now, the Rangers believe Reaves avoided a major injury. Considering how awkward that fall looked, that’s a relief for Reaves and the Rangers.
Subban understands Rangers’ response; Kreider responds after Reaves injury
Generally speaking, Subban understood Kreider and the Rangers’ responses, and hoped Reaves avoided injury.
” … Listen, things happen on the ice,” Subban said, via Corey Masisak of The Athletic. “It was obviously an accident. I’ve been playing in this league a long time. I don’t go out there and try and injury anybody or anything like that.”
Rangers such as Kevin Rooney viewed it all as an example of the team sticking together.
That said, the true test boils down to the Rangers finding the right balance between responding and avoiding the penalty box. The Rangers may not admit it, but most view their larger offseason gameplan as a reaction to Tom Wilson‘s menace. Trading for Reaves was a part of that, but not the only area of emphasis, something the Rangers displayed in the enforcer’s absence in that exhibition bout.
During Wednesday’s preseason game, they struck that proper balance. The Rangers beat the Devils 6-2.