The NHL has suspended New York Rangers defenseman John Moore five games without pay for his hit to the head of Minnesota Wild center Erik Haula in the teams' game Monday night, the league announced Wednesday.
With 7:12 remaining in the second period Monday, Moore checked Haula in the area between the circles in the New York end after Haula attempted a shot, hitting Haula almost squarely in the head. Moore was assessed a match penalty and ejected from the game, which the Rangers eventually won 5-4.
The NHL made the decision to suspend Moore after Moore's in-person meeting with the league's Department of Player Safety on Wednesday. He's considered a repeat offender after delivering a similar hit to Montreal Canadiens forward Dale Weise in Game 5 of last season's Eastern Conference finals.
In a video explaining the decision, DPS director Patrick Burke said the following:
If Moore is to attempt this extremely difficult hit, his timing and angle of approach must ensure that he hits squarely through the body and that Haula’s head is not the main point of contact. Moore does neither. Haula’s head absorbs the brunt of Moore’s shoulder, and the way Haula spins to the ice is a clear indication that this hit was not square through the body.
Moore, 23, has played in all nine of the Rangers' games this season, recording one assist and averaging 14:19 of ice time. He'll miss games against the Winnipeg Jets, St. Louis Blues, Detroit Red Wings, Toronto Maple Leafs and Edmonton Oilers.
Haula, also 23, has scored one goal in seven games this season and has averaged 12:15 of ice time.
The Rangers are currently tied for third in the Metropolitan Division with 10 points, while the Wild are fourth in the Central Division with 10 points.
- Ben Estes