After an in-person hearing with the NHL’s Disciplinary Board on Wednesday, New York Rangers Defenseman John Moore has received a five game suspension for his contact to the head of Minnesota Wild forward Erik Haula on Monday night. The suspension will start with Saturday’s home game against Winnipeg, and Moore will be eligible to return on Tuesday November 11th when the Rangers host the Pittsburgh Penguins. Haula wasn’t diagnosed with a concussion, but he sat out Tuesday night’s game in Boston as a precaution. Moore is a repeat offender, who received a two-game suspension for a hit on Dale Weise during last year’s Eastern Conference Finals.
There is no defending what John Moore did. With the NHL cracking down on contact to the head over the past few seasons, if there was ever a textbook video of what shouldn’t be done, this is it. There’s no excuse for his elbow to come up towards Haula’a face, and he’s earning himself a reputation. This may be an odd thing to say considering the two video’s that were posted earlier in this article, but if you watch John Moore night in and night out, you wouldn’t consider him a dirty player. These incidents loom large though, and the reputation of him being dirty will most certainly follow him around.
Hopefully the message has gotten through to him this time, because Moore’s actions leave the Rangers thin in an area that was once strength. Coming in to the season, the Rangers had one of the best bluelines in the league. Dan Boyle is currently out with a broken hand (expected to return mid-November), and with Moore out of the line-up, the Rangers are left in a precarious position of finding a sixth defenseman that can log some minutes. Matt Hunwick took the spot left by Boyle, and has played well with the extended opportunity. Off-season acquisition Mike Kostka will likely get the first crack at filling the void left by Moore. If he repeats the performance he had against the New York Islanders (-2, and made two head-scratching decisions that directly lead to goals by the Isles), then either Conor Allen or Dylan McIlrath (both currently with their AHL-affiliate Hartford Wolf Pack) would get the next chance. McIlrath (6’ 5” – 230 lbs) would provide size and an edge, while Allen would be closer to the mold of a mobile defenseman like Moore.
Moore is already on the NHL’s radar moving forward, but he’s going to have to make the extra effort to keep it clean. His reputation precedes him now, and he’s going to have to deal with the opposition trying to get under his skin to retaliate in a bad way.