Captain Ryan McDonagh’s concussion sidelined him for Monday’s game — and possibly more — and coach Alain Vigneault denounced the NHL for not further punishing Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds for his antics in Philadelphia on Saturday.
It was Simmonds’ sucker punch to McDonagh’s jaw, apparently in retaliation for a high-stick to the back of his helmet that sparked Vigneault’s rant. Simmonds received a match penalty, which triggers a suspension until a review, was ejected, and also received a game misconduct.
But Simmonds played against the Capitals on Sunday, so the review must have determined that the penalties were sufficient. The NHL did not respond to an email requesting clarification and a response to Vigneault’s comments.
McDonagh received two minor penalties, was examined and held out the rest of the game for precautionary reasons.“What I didn’t expect was the reaction from the league,” Vigneault said. “An All-Star player gets sucker-punched, goes down. I wonder if that’s [Sidney] Crosby, what happens? What are the consequences?”
Vigneault didn’t stop there. “On top of that, a player [Simmonds] breaks his stick, throws it at the referees. In the rulebook, that’s automatic. It’s three games. Nothing happens. It’s not even on the sheet after the game. The referee came to me and I said, ‘Am I getting a power play here?’ and he said, ‘No, he’s getting a game misconduct for throwing his stick at us.’ ” The official game summary lists the misconduct with no explanation.
Rick Nash, recovering very slowly from a painful bone bruise in his left leg suffered on Jan. 22, missed his sixth straight game and isn’t expected to play in Pittsburgh Wednesday. Nash did not skate for ten days before gingerly skating on his own three days last week. “We’ve been talking about slowing him down because we didn’t see the progression we had hoped,” Vigneault said. After resting for three days, “he said he was feeling a lot better. We’ll see how he feels in a day or two.”