NHL

Sources: Nash won't face discipline for hard hit

03/22 3:21 PM

Rangers star winger Rick Nash will not face any discipline for his hit Thursday on Florida's Tomas Kopecky, multiple sources confirmed to ESPNNewYork.com.

NEW YORK -- Rangers star winger Rick Nash will not face any discipline for his hit Thursday on Florida's Tomas Kopecky, multiple sources confirmed to ESPNNewYork.com.

Nash rocked Kopecky in the slot, hitting him high and from behind, during the third period of the Rangers' 3-1 loss to Florida. Though Nash was not penalized on the play, many assumed he would face a suspension or, at the very least, a fine.

He did receive a phone call Friday from league disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan, multiple sources confirmed, but the NHL's Department of Player Safety felt the hit fell below the threshold of supplementary discipline.

It is not immediately clear what absolved Nash from a fine or ban, but it is believed the principal point of contact may have been his saving grace. Nash left his feet to connect on the hit but nailed Kopecky in the back and shoulder first.

Kopecky remained in the game and scored Florida's empty-net goal to seal the win with less than a minute left in regulation.

The decision is not likely to sit well with Leafs fans, who will not see Joffrey Lupul play for the next two games. Lupul earned a suspension for Wednesday's hit on Tampa Bay defenseman Victor Hedman, an illegal check to the head.

Vancouver Canucks defenseman Alex Edler also has a hearing with the Department of Player Safety on Friday night for knocking over Phoenix Coyotes goaltender Mike Smith behind the net.

Because of Nash's star status and Shanahan's connection with the Rangers -- he played for New York from 2006 to 2008 -- the decision already has garnered some criticism.

But Shanahan also has drawn the ire of his former team since taking over for Colin Campbell. The organization was irate over the three-game suspension to Carl Hagelin during the Eastern Conference quarterfinals last spring and unhappy with the lack of supplementary discipline for Boston's Milan Lucic earlier this season.

Lucic rammed Nash into the boards in the Rangers' 4-3 shootout win over the Bruins on Feb. 12 -- a hit that is believed to be the reason Nash missed four games later that month.

The Rangers went 0-3-1 without Nash in the lineup during that span.


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