New York Rangers defenseman, John Moore, is scheduled to meet with the NHL Department of Player Safety on Wednesday. The hearing is in response to an illegal check to the head of Montreal Canadiens’ Dale Weiss.
The illegal hit occurred during the third period of Game 5 on Tuesday. Moore received a match penalty for the hit at the time of time of the incident. Weiss lost his helmet during the hit and seemed shaken up to the point where he needed help from P.K. Subban to stand up before skating off the ice.
A match penalty holds automatic suspension until the hearing can take place and commissioner Gary Bettman can rule on the incident. This is in accordance of Rule 21 of the NHL Rulebook:
21.1 Match Penalty - A match penalty involves the suspension of a player for the balance of the game and the offender shall be ordered to the dressing room immediately. A match penalty shall be imposed on any player who deliberately attempts to injure or who deliberately injures an opponent in any manner.
Despite leaving the ice for a period of time, a mere five minutes later the team doctors said he was OK to play. Weiss played three more shifts the remainder of the game.
Canadiens coach Michel Therrien stated:
“First of all, I thought it was the right call on the ice,” Therrien said of Moore’s hit and match penalty. “We all saw it. We all saw it on the ice and saw the different angle on the TV after the game. They’ll decide what they’re going to do after.”
Rangers coach Alain Vigneault defended Moore, mentioning that he was not the type of player to try to intentionally hurt another player on the ice. Despite this, he felt “It was a late hit and it was the right call on the ice,” Vigneault said.
If Moore is indeed suspended, it is expected that either Raphael Diaz or Justin Falk will replace him in the lineup come Game 6 on Thursday.