Staple, with Newsday since 1997, has covered high school sports, hockey and football.
PHILADELPHIA - The Ranger who played the least in Game 3 last night certainly was noticed the most, for better and for worse. That's pretty much the way Dan Carcillo's career has gone -- the Rangers are his sixth organization at age 29 and Game 3 was his first appearance of this playoff series.
Carcillo ended up with the "Broadway Hat," the Rangers' in-house game MVP symbol, capping his very wild night in the Rangers' 4-1 win over the Flyers.
He went from taking a terrible extra-minor penalty for shoving Flyers captain Claude Giroux midway through the second, to being prone on the ice after taking an unpenalized knock to the head from Matt Read, to screaming at the officials for a borderline hooking call with 11:24 to go in a two-goal game, to tipping a Brian Boyle pass between Ray Emery's pads with 9:07 left, to staring down a few Flyers fans during his goal celebration.
Carcillo packed a lot into his 8:57 of ice time, a Rangers team low Tuesday night.
"Obviously it's an emotional game and I'm an emotional guy," he said. "Over the years, I've tried to tailor it, but it kind of came out tonight."
His dislike for the Flyers and their fans was front and center. He spent two-plus seasons here, including the magical 2009-10 season, when he scored 12 goals, had 207 penalty minutes and was part of the Philly crew that got into the playoffs on the final day of the season, the final play really -- then-Ranger Olli Jokinen's missed shootout attempt was the deciding factor between the Rangers and Flyers making the postseason.
Those Flyers under Peter Laviolette went to the Stanley Cup Finals, losing to the Blackhawks in six games. After the following season, Carcillo wasn't even tendered a qualifying offer.
"When that happens," he said Tuesday, "you know what an organization thinks of you."
He also makes no bones about what he thinks of the fans in Philadelphia.
Getting into the lineup Tuesday night in place of rookie Jesper Fast, Carcillo might have been expected to be the one delivering a suspendable cheap shot. Instead he was on the receiving end in the final period of what he called a shoulder to the chin from Read, an unlikely source for what the Rangers clearly thought was a dirty play.
The Flyers crowd booed Carcillo as he lay on the ice, clearly accusing him of faking.
"Nothing surprises me about this city and the way people act," he said.
Carcillo's act can have that effect on people. His job is to aggravate and provoke. His Twitter handle is @CarBombBoom13. Subtlety is not his strong suit. When the Rangers scooped him up from the Kings in January for a seventh-round pick, they knew what they were getting.
So after he pulled himself together and got back out for his next shift, he was livid that what he thought was a good defensive play to break up a scoring chance for Read was whistled as a hook.
"Maybe I should try not to yell at the refs there," he said. "Probably should try not to do that."
He got the best revenge when he exited the penalty box. Boyle saucered a pass that Carcillo tipped between Emery's pads and the celebration was epic: smashed stick against the glass, long stare into the enemy crowd and a few chirps for a few Flyers players on the ice and toward their bench as Carcillo skated to his own bench.
All in all, a full first appearance. He's sure to be back in for Friday's Game 4, and the Philly crowd will surely save their best for No. 13.
"You get in, you get an opportunity like this," he said, "and you want to make the most of it."