The New York Rangers have called on the NHL to impose sanctions on the Washington Capitals for what they believe was a lack of adequate security behind their team's bench on Friday night.
Rangers' coach John Tortorella was suspended one game by the league for throwing a water bottle in the direction of a heckling fan and, instead, hitting another patron at the Washington arena.
But in a letter from New York president and general manager Glen Sather to NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, released Sunday by the team, the Rangers made a number of claims in relation to the incident. Included were:
- That the Rangers made repeated requests of security in the vicinity of the bench to intervene with fans they believed were getting carried away and yet nothing was done.
- That the looseness of the glass panels behind the New York bench made it possible for fans using obscene language to scream at the coach and players.
- That one fan questioned, in graphic language, whether Rangers' players Dan Girardi and Marc Staal had a sexual relationship — all within easy earshot of young fans.
- And that trainer Jim Ramsay and other bench personnel were spit on by fans.
Sather said the Washington arena staff's failure to respond to requests for intervention "contributed significantly to this unfortunate incident."
Therefore, the Rangers are asking Bettman to impose "appropriate discipline" on Washington and ensure that proper security is in place for a possible Game 7 on Tuesday.
NHL spokesman Frank Brown told the New York Times the league would "implement increased security measures" for both Sunday's Game 6 and Tuesday's Game 7, if it is played.
A Capitals' spokesman said the team may comment later but as of Sunday afternoon would not make a statement.
Washington came into Sunday trailing 3-2 and would be eliminated by a Rangers' victory.