Rangers and Islanders coaches clash over ‘vicious’ hits

NHL: New York Rangers at New York Islanders
Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports

The war on the ice between the New York Rangers and New York Islanders carried over into the pressers for both coaches.

Well after the Islanders defeated the Rangers 4-2 at UBS Arena on Tuesday, Peter Laviolette was absolutely incensed over two hits that could’ve seriously injured his top two centers.

The first incident occurred when Mika Zibanejad collided with defenseman Adam Pelech midway through the third period. Initially, the contact appeared accidental, but in analyzing the video, Pelech seems to slightly turn his head towards Zibanejad, stops in his path, and makes the hit. At the end of the day, it’s still a matter of interpretation.

Immediately, Zibanejad went to the ice and struggled to crawl towards the bench. Even though he did not take another shift, Mika returned to the bench for the game’s conclusion, which did nothing to lessen his coach’s fury.

“He came back at the end after that vicious hit,” an angry Laviolette said. “Shoulder, elbow to the head. Watch it.”

When asked if he felt it was intentional, the Rangers’ bench boss immediately fired back, “I do.”

Related: Isles enforcer has some advice for Matt Rempe

Rangers and Islanders coaches war of words

NHL: New York Rangers at New York Islanders
Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports

Needless to say, Islanders coach Patrick Roy did not see the hit in the same light and claimed that his counterpart’s comments were just born of “frustration.”

“I don’t know why we’re talking about this,” Roy shot back. “I’m a little surprised because it was clear in my mind that it was accidental. We could talk about it for an hour if you want to, but I think we’re wasting our time. It was accidental. That’s it, that’s all, next question.”

The rough stuff didn’t stop there, as late in the game Vincent Trocheck was crosschecked and boarded from behind. This caused a turnover and the Islanders scored into an empty net.

“Vicious,” Laviolette said of the hit from Noah Dobson. “From behind.”

Of course, Roy saw it completely different.

“I think it’s, what, 15 seconds left in the game, the puck is up in the air. I think he should expect that we were going to go after this one,” Roy explained. “And I think Noah tried to lay off on him and tried to go for [it] sideways. He just finishes the check on him.

At this time, there’s no expectation for any supplemental discipline. These teams will battle for the last time in the regular season on Saturday afternoon at Madison Square Garden.

The Rangers behemoth rookie Matt Rempe was a healthy scratch on Tuesday, Laviolette won’t make that mistake again.

Anthony Scultore is the founder of Forever Blueshirts and has been covering the New York Rangers and the NHL... More about Anthony Scultore

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