Luckily for the Rangers, Thursday night’s game seven won’t involve a soccer ball. The game won’t be decided by an extra point attempt through the uprights. Coach Paul MacLean won’t be demanding that his players “sweep the leg” and ask if they have a problem with that. Or maybe he will. After all, not one…not two…but three different Ottawa Senators went Pele on the Rangers in Monday night’s Ranger victory.
In a series that has already seen the Rangers get the short end of the stick in terms of suspension rulings, it’s hard to believe that the Senators continue to avoid any appropriate supplemental discipline.
Erik Karlsson has been quiet since the controversy that surrounded him in the first two games of the series. However, he has continued to be a target for the Ranger forwards, and he clearly doesn’t like it. After taking a big hit from Brandon Prust in the first period, Karlsson decided to kick Prust while down on the ice. Who kicks people with skates on? Ottawa Senators do. Just ask Dan Girardi, who presented his slashed pants as evidence of being kicked by Sens forward, Milan Mihalek. Girardi was allegedly kicked during the scrum that ensued when Chris Neil of the Senators attempted to kick the puck into the net after he used his stick to pitchfork Henrik Lundqvist out of the crease. Somehow, the goal stood. Somehow, neither Karlsson or Mihalek will be suspended.
There is precedence for suspending players from a Game Seven for kicking players on the other team. In 2002, Shayne Corson was suspended for kicking NY Islander behemoth, Eric Cairns, after Cairns pounded him in a fight. During the regular season this year, Jeff Skinner was suspended for two games for kicking as well.
The lack of any NHL involvement is a good sign for Rangers fans. After the nonsense of Game Two, and the ridiculousness of Brendan Shanahan’s rulings, the Blueshirts turned in a solid Game Three performance and shut the Senators out. King Henry is as angry as I have ever seen him, so he will be more focused than ever.
Best of all, the Rangers of Game Six looked like the Rangers of the regular season, playing the style that made them the best around. Game Seven can’t get here soon enough. I wonder if this guy will be watching.