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

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Since: Dec 27, 2006
Posted on: December 31, 2011 12:42 am

Tomas Kopecky sucker-punches Michael Del Zotto

Hopefully that punk Kopesky will get at least 5 games. Dineen should get at least a game for his dumb a_z z comment too. No wonder they suck, you got an idiot runnning the team...

Since: Mar 19, 2009
Posted on: December 31, 2011 12:38 am

Tomas Kopecky sucker-punches Michael Del Zotto

Hey Stubits - you are supposed to be a professional writer - lose the obvious bias you have when it comes to the Rangers.  Was it a cheap shot?  Probably, but Del Zotto just knocked Kopecky's helmet off with his stick and then crosschecked him in the ribs.  If you honestly think that it was "just a shove - nothing out of the ordinary" - you really need to get your eyes checked and/or have your bias removed.  Do it now, don't wait.  Kopecky will get 3-4 games for losing it.

Since: Mar 26, 2008
Posted on: December 30, 2011 11:38 pm

Tomas Kopecky sucker-punches Michael Del Zotto

I love del zotto and I am a ranger fan; but del zotto did accidently hit him in the head with the butt end of his stick and knock his helmet off.
Kopecky will get suspended but frankly Rupp should too.
When a sport allows fighting; this kind of crap is bound to happen.
In football the guy would be afraid t retaliate because he knows he'd get fined and suspended; and Del Zotto might even get a FINE TOO FOR A STICK TO THE HEAD.
Bettman, however, wants to keep fighting in the sport to appease the Don Cherry and Mike MIlbury idiots out there.
This this crap will continue to happen; and tacitly be encouraged.

Since: Jul 1, 2010
Posted on: December 30, 2011 11:32 pm

Tomas Kopecky sucker-punches Michael Del Zotto

Del Zotto looked like he got that stick a little close to the face of Kopecky.    Surprised Kopecky retaliated like that, I wonder if there will be discipline or not.    Hossa would not be happy with his buddy Tomas.

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