Blog Entry

Kopecky punches Del Zotto leading to late scrum

Posted on: December 30, 2011 11:07 pm
Edited on: December 31, 2011 1:41 am
 

By Brian Stubits

In the waning seconds of a 4-1 win by the Rangers over the Florida Panthers, as Ron Burgundy would say, that escalated quickly. I mean, that really got out of hand fast.

With just 10 seconds left and the outcome well in hand, the Panthers' Tomas Kopecky was trying to gain a footing in the crease alongside Rangers defenseman Michael Del Zotto. Del Zotto gave Kopecky a cross check and his stick hit Kopecky in the back of the head, so Kopecky responded with a blow to Del Zotto's head, unleashing a massive scrum.

The hit looked really bad and naturally it prompted a response from the Rangers, particularly Mike Rupp. He began circling around the fracas like a shark in the water, waiting for his chance at Kopecky. Despite the lineman trying to take Kopecky away from the pile, Rupp came in anyway and basically ripped Kopecky from the linesman's grasp and unloaded five haymakers to Kopecky's noggin. Both Rupp and Kopecky were assessed game misconducts (not a lot of punishment with 10 seconds left).

After the game, Rangers coach John Tortorella said called Kopecky's hit ''a cheap shot. With no honor.''

But Panthers coach Kevin Dineen stuck up for Kopecky.

"That's hockey. Some guy cross-checks you in the back and then follows through. He deserves a good smash in the face," Dineen said of Del Zotto. "He got what he deserved. Then guys who play five minutes a night, it's typical that they would go and try and grab our skill players. We'll see what the response is."

You can guarantee that this already has the full attention of Brendan Shanahan and the league office. This is one of the dirtiest plays you can pull in hockey, a sucker punch to an opponent. I have a feeling that not even Rupp's vigilante justice that is his right hand will be enough punishment for Kopecky in this case.

There is a little precedent for this under Shanahan, too. Remember back to the preseason when James Wisniewski of the Columbus Blue Jackets threw his own sucker shot on Cal Clutterbuck of the Minnesota Wild. That earned the Wiz a suspension for the rest of the preseason and the first eight regular-season games.

Now Kopecky doesn't have the priors that Wisniewski had on his record, but I'd be surprised if Kopecky didn't earn himself an in-person hearing for this punch. That would mean that a five-games or great suspension would be in play. Rupp could have earned himself a phone call from the league as well.

Mark it down on your calendar now, these teams will meet again, and very soon. Next week, Thursday to be exact, the Panthers head up to MSG for the last meeting of the season between the two and Florida's Krys Barch will be ready for it.

“I’m sure we’ll have a meeting next week in New York,” Barch told the Sun-Sentinel. "You can’t allow that stuff to happen. … That’s just not allowed to go on in terms of a teammate getting jumped like that. We’ll take care of that next week."

More NHL Discipline News Here

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Comments

Since: Nov 20, 2009
Posted on: December 31, 2011 9:40 am
 

Kopecky punches Del Zotto leading to late scrum

Green Monster - You are pathetic, Mr. Internet Long-Distance Tough Guy. FYI, pathetic Del Zotto is in the top 5 in the league in +/- points on the ice. OK so Del Zotto had it coming to him, but the fact is punching somebody from behind instead of face-to-face is a sucker punch. Yeah it's hockey & stuff happens... Everybody will always be biased for one side or the other, but you can all just settle down now... Still lots of games to play and I'm sure Kopecky will get another shot at him...



Since: May 4, 2010
Posted on: December 31, 2011 9:39 am
 

Kopecky punches Del Zotto leading to late scrum

You must be a Florida fan, wow big year for you slaps. Kopecky is a punk and sucker punched Del Zotto. Can't wait to see Krystal I mean Krys against Rupp. Oh and really, Gutter Slime, ya Dineen and his family were so respected??



Since: Nov 20, 2008
Posted on: December 31, 2011 8:55 am
 

Kopecky punches Del Zotto leading to late scrum

This was a hockey play and was handled properly by all concerned.Del Zotto went high on Kopecky,Kopecky retaliated and Rupp stood up for a weak, pathetic teammate. That gutter slime Rangers coach will be screaming for justice but one wonders what Rupp was doing on the ice in the last minute of a game against a team who is about as aggressive as Denmark?



Since: Sep 3, 2011
Posted on: December 31, 2011 8:15 am
 

Kopecky punches Del Zotto leading to late scrum

nobody seems to mention the fact that kopecky crosschecks his way to get to the front of the net. looks to me  like he initiated the whole thing.



Since: Dec 10, 2007
Posted on: December 31, 2011 3:46 am
 

Kopecky punches Del Zotto leading to late scrum

love Rupp. wish he was still a penguin. 



Since: Dec 10, 2007
Posted on: December 31, 2011 3:46 am
 

Kopecky punches Del Zotto leading to late scrum

love Rupp. wish he was still a penguin. 



Since: Apr 16, 2008
Posted on: December 31, 2011 1:34 am
 

Kopecky punches Del Zotto leading to late scrum

OK, I'll take it, a little mea culpa on this one. I was very busy and I did not notice the lead-up to the punch when I first watched. Regardless, Kopecky is going to hear about this punch.



Since: Apr 16, 2009
Posted on: December 31, 2011 1:28 am
 

Tomas Kopecky sucker-punches Michael Del Zotto

Rupper! Way to stick up for Del Zotto.  Kopecky blocked all five punches with his FACE.



Since: Jan 4, 2007
Posted on: December 31, 2011 12:54 am
 

Tomas Kopecky sucker-punches Michael Del Zotto

Wow I didn't even finish reading this. How are you employed with this bias? The dirtiest play you can pull in hockey? Are you out of your mind, or have you never met a man named Todd Bertuzzi? Take your pedastal to the Rangers message board.



Since: Jan 4, 2007
Posted on: December 31, 2011 12:50 am
 

Tomas Kopecky sucker-punches Michael Del Zotto

Yeah cut the crap with the bias. Del Zotto was taking shots, up high, on Kopecky and he stood up for himself. Then he was on the receiving end of a beating. Settle the F down.


The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com