John Moore punished enough by NHL, says Rangers coach
New York forward delivered blind-sided hit against Canadiens' Weise
Rangers coach Alain Vigneault says there's no need for supplemental discipline for New York defenceman John Moore in the wake of his punishing hit on Montreal forward Dale Weise in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference final.
But he's not holding his breath.
"It doesn't meet the league standard as far as a late hit," Vigneault told reporters at a Wednesday morning availability in Montreal the day after the Habs' 7-4 win. "It was a hit that Johnny caught him a little high in the chest, [the] player didn't see it coming.
"It probably warrants the penalty that was given on the ice. Other than that, I don't see what else it could warrant, but I've been surprised before. We'll see what happens."
He probably did not have long to wait. The NHL department of player safety scheduled a hearing for Moore on Wednesday on an illegal check to the head.
Moore was given a major penalty and ejected from Tuesday night's game at Montreal's Bell Centre when, at 10:41 of the third period, he nailed Weise with a blindside open-ice hit that was almost identical to Montreal forward Brandon Prust's unpenalized hit on Derek Stepan in Game 3.
Prust, who had been suspended once before by the league, was subsequently given a two-game ban for the late check, which the NHL deemed as interference.
Vigneault said the two cases were different.
"Well, the player didn't see him coming, obviously, but the guy [Weise] was admiring his pass a little bit at the same time. Unfortunately, it was a hit and because of the force of the hit, the head seemed to snap back a little bit. But as far as what I know about league standards and from what I heard from the Prust hit where the dynamics of the hit changed because Stepan was hurt, I don't see that at this time right now."
Stepan's jaw was broken by Prust's hit but the Rangers' centre returned to action Tuesday after undergoing surgery, and scored two goals while wearing a chin guard.
Weise's helmet was knocked off after Tuesday night's hit and he was wobbly when he got up, with teammate P.K. Subban grabbing him in a bear hug for support.
He left for treatment but returned to the bench late in the period.
Montreal coach Michel Therrien did not take umbrage at Vigneault's assessment of the play.
"What Alain is saying it's normal. He's there to protect his players with his comments, and any coach is going to say those types of things. But we all saw the hit. It's in the league's hands and I'm sure they're going to take the good decision, so that's the way we see it."
Moore plays on New York's third defensive pairing with Kevin Klein.
Tuesday's win staved off elimination for Montreal, narrowing the Rangers' lead in the series to three games to two. Game 6 is Thursday at Madison Square Garden (CBC, CBCSports.ca, 8 p.m. ET).
The series has already seen two suspensions -- New York's Dan Carcillo was banned for 10 games for jostling a linesman in the wake of the Prust hit.
Asked if Raphael Diaz would be the replacement for Moore if suspended, Vigneault replied: "We're not there yet. I don't expect anything."