Alain Vigneault compares Matt Beleskey's hit on Derek Stepan to Aaron Rome's hit on Nathan Horton

DJ Bean
November 27, 2015 - 11:58 am
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Matt Beleskey'€™s hit on Derek Stepan Friday did two things: It broke Stepan'€™s ribs and led to a whole lot of reaction. It did not, however, receive punishment. Beleskey threw Stepan into the boards on a slightly late hit that deserved a boarding penalty but did not receive one. Rangers defenseman Dylan McIlrath responded by promptly pummeling Beleskey in a fight that earned McIlrath an instigator penalty. Amidst all the postgame chatter of whether the hit deserved more punishment than just Beleskey getting punched a bunch, Beleskey insisted that the reason the play went awry was because Stepan did not brace himself to be hit. Rangers coach Alain Vigneault, better known around these parts as Vancouver'€™s head coach when the Bruins beat the Canucks in the 2011 Stanley Cup Final, put a different spin on it. "In our opinion it was a late hit," Vigneault said. "It was more than a second and he was a couple of feet away from the boards, so we'€™ll have to wait and see. I remember Aaron Rome in this building, .06 seconds late and getting suspended four games in the Stanley Cup finals, so it'€™ll be interesting to see." That's a really -- let's call it "ambitious" -- comparison to make considering one play was a guy shoving another into the boards while the other was a player going after a guy's head for no apparent reason (so on second thought, let's just call it a dumb comparison to make). Other than both plays being illegal (seemingly, at least, given that Beleskey wasn't penalized), the plays don't have much in common.

"I just think he didn'€™t think I was going to hit him," Beleskey said after the game. "He kind of didn'€™t brace himself. I didn'€™t take any extra strides or anything like that. Maybe, maybe a little bit late, but he saw me coming. I came from the front. It'€™s unfortunate that I think I just saw he'€™s injured, so hopefully he'€™s all right."