Byfuglien nearly breaks Miller’s neck! Where was the response??!!!!

Byfuglien's vicious slash on JT Miller (MSG)

Byfuglien’s vicious slash on JT Miller (MSG)

At the 17:21 mark of the 2nd Period of last night’s Rangers 3-2 win at Winnipeg, J.T. Miller was the victim of a “vicious” cross-check from Jets D-man Dustin Byfuglien, which should have warranted at least a 5-minute major, if not a match penalty too.

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Luckily for Miller and the Rangers, he didn’t miss a shift. For those of you who watched the MSG broadcast last night, you got a sense of how bad it was, by the comments being made by Sam and Joe from the time of the hit, up until the final buzzer. And then AV, who is usually cool and clam about everything, decided to unleash this quote: “violent, deliberate, could have broken his neck. I don’t know what’s going to happen. One of the most vicious cross-checks I’ve seen this year.”

That kind of reminded me of the Brooks Orpik knee-on-knee hit to Derek Stepan at Pittsburgh in April 2012, which garnered as fiery response from John Tortorella. Not only was Miller in a vulnerable position, but the official was right there and still decided not to call anything. That hit contained everything the NHL has been trying to remove from the game: intent to injure, to the head/neck, defenseless player etc. Word has not yet been released as to whether Byfuglien will have a hearing with the Department of Player Safety, but one would have to assume that he will have one, but after all it was a Ranger who was on the receiving end of it, so who knows.

Glass (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Glass (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

What the Rangers can’t control, is the punishment Byfuglien is going to get. However what the Rangers could have done is given Byfuglien some punishment on the ice. My one question is: WHERE WAS THE RESPONSE???? Yes, I’m looking at you Tanner Glass. Miller has been such a vital player on this team, now even more with Martin St. Louis out, and not one player on the Rangers can take a run at Byfuglien and stand up for Miller? That’s ridiculous!!!

Last I checked, Miller stands up for his teammates and has even fought, and he’s not an “enforcer?” The Rangers apparently have an “enforcer,” so if he’s not going to do his job, why play him?

First of all, of the Rangers who were on the ice at the time of the hit, would you want any of them scrapping with Byfuglien? Hayes? No! Kreider? No! Although he would have surely taken a run at him had he seen the hit and not already been skating back on defense.*

*Editor’s Note: Chris Kreider was on the ice at the buzzer when Byfuglien was abusing Mats Zuccarello and did nothing.

Staal? With his injury problems as of late, absolutely not. Girardi? No, also. From the time of the “hit,” there were 22 and half minutes left in the game, and it took until Byfuglien’s bonehead penalty on Zuccarello that someone even gave him a stare, and that was Zuccarello himself.

Why wasn’t Tanner Glass immediately thrown out there to challenge Byfuglien? Throughout the season, AV has defended using Glass because of his toughness, so why exactly was he not taking a run at Byfuglien right away? At least Byfuglien received the best non-physical punishment, as Kreider absolutely burned him on the winning goal after received a beautiful pass from (yes) JT Miller (Broadway Hat to go with it), but that’s not the point. Byfuglien should have been bumped and bruised throughout the 3rd period, but nobody on the Rangers decided to lift a finger towards him.

Last night, the NHL received a very loud message, and it’s not one I want getting out. That message is you can take liberties on any Rangers player on the ice, and they will not respond. That needs to change very quickly.

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