Vigneault rips NHL after ‘sucker-punch’ takes McDonagh out

Watch as Wayne Simmonds is ejected after receiving an intent to injure penalty for his rough play on captain Ryan McDonagh of the New York Rangers.

Wayne Simmonds‘ gloved punch is still hurting Ryan McDonagh, and head coach Alain Vigneualt is ticked off.

The New York Rangers‘ all-star captain suffered a concussion Saturday in Philadelphia, the team announced, and will not dress for Monday’s game against the New Jersey Devils. McDonagh did not skate with his team Monday morning and is out indefinitely as he recovers.

In the first period of New York’s shootout win over the Flyers Saturday, Simmonds went to hit McDonagh, and the Rangers defenceman cross-checked Simmonds in the face.

Simmonds responded with a slash and then delivered a surprise left to the face of McDonagh, who hit the ice before leaving the game for examination. He did not return.

The Flyers forward received a match penalty for intent to injure but avoided supplementary discipline from the league. McDonagh was given two minutes for slashing and two minutes for high-sticking on the play.

“I had a feeling he had a concussion,” Vigneault told reporters Monday. “We weren’t 100 per cent sure. He had some symptoms.

“What I didn’t expect was the reaction from the league. An all-star player gets sucker-punched, goes down. I wonder if that’s [Sidney] Crosby, what happens? What are the consequences? And, on top of that, a player 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.

“And 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,’ ” Vigneault went on. “And it’s not on the sheet. I think maybe you guys [the media] should call the league and find out what happened because obviously we’re getting different answers.”

The absence of McDonagh creates a significant hole in the Rangers lineup. The power-play quarterback leads all Rangers in ice time by well over two minutes, averaging 22:44 per night, and his plus-13 rating tops that of all New York D-men.

Vigneault also responded to reports that some Flyers believe McDonagh embellished his injury.

“Tell them to go see [McDonagh] at his house today,” Vigneault said.

Rangers star forward Rick Nash, who is dealing with left-leg bone bruise, also did not participate in Monday’s practice.

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