Blog Entry

Kopecky punches Del Zotto leading to late scrum

Posted on: December 30, 2011 11:07 pm
Edited on: December 31, 2011 1:41 am

By Brian Stubits

In the waning seconds of a 4-1 win by the Rangers over the Florida Panthers, as Ron Burgundy would say, that escalated quickly. I mean, that really got out of hand fast.

With just 10 seconds left and the outcome well in hand, the Panthers' Tomas Kopecky was trying to gain a footing in the crease alongside Rangers defenseman Michael Del Zotto. Del Zotto gave Kopecky a cross check and his stick hit Kopecky in the back of the head, so Kopecky responded with a blow to Del Zotto's head, unleashing a massive scrum.

The hit looked really bad and naturally it prompted a response from the Rangers, particularly Mike Rupp. He began circling around the fracas like a shark in the water, waiting for his chance at Kopecky. Despite the lineman trying to take Kopecky away from the pile, Rupp came in anyway and basically ripped Kopecky from the linesman's grasp and unloaded five haymakers to Kopecky's noggin. Both Rupp and Kopecky were assessed game misconducts (not a lot of punishment with 10 seconds left).

After the game, Rangers coach John Tortorella said called Kopecky's hit ''a cheap shot. With no honor.''

But Panthers coach Kevin Dineen stuck up for Kopecky.

"That's hockey. Some guy cross-checks you in the back and then follows through. He deserves a good smash in the face," Dineen said of Del Zotto. "He got what he deserved. Then guys who play five minutes a night, it's typical that they would go and try and grab our skill players. We'll see what the response is."

You can guarantee that this already has the full attention of Brendan Shanahan and the league office. This is one of the dirtiest plays you can pull in hockey, a sucker punch to an opponent. I have a feeling that not even Rupp's vigilante justice that is his right hand will be enough punishment for Kopecky in this case.

There is a little precedent for this under Shanahan, too. Remember back to the preseason when James Wisniewski of the Columbus Blue Jackets threw his own sucker shot on Cal Clutterbuck of the Minnesota Wild. That earned the Wiz a suspension for the rest of the preseason and the first eight regular-season games.

Now Kopecky doesn't have the priors that Wisniewski had on his record, but I'd be surprised if Kopecky didn't earn himself an in-person hearing for this punch. That would mean that a five-games or great suspension would be in play. Rupp could have earned himself a phone call from the league as well.

Mark it down on your calendar now, these teams will meet again, and very soon. Next week, Thursday to be exact, the Panthers head up to MSG for the last meeting of the season between the two and Florida's Krys Barch will be ready for it.

“I’m sure we’ll have a meeting next week in New York,” Barch told the Sun-Sentinel. "You can’t allow that stuff to happen. … That’s just not allowed to go on in terms of a teammate getting jumped like that. We’ll take care of that next week."

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Since: Aug 28, 2011
Posted on: December 31, 2011 1:24 pm

Kopecky punches Del Zotto leading to late scrum

Was watching the game when this all went Down and Kopecky had the first cross check as well as the cheap shot sucker punch. The video does not show how it all started and that Del Zotto was responding to the first cheap shot which was the cross check on him with only 10 seconds left. Rupp did exactly what he should have and tought that cheap shot a lesson he deserved. Can't wait until next week when the Rangers whoop on them again!!

Since: Dec 17, 2007
Posted on: December 31, 2011 12:39 pm

Kopecky punches Del Zotto leading to late scrum

Del Zotto had it coming to him. plain and simple. What the hell is he doing trying to clear the crease like that with 10 seconds left in a game that you are up by 3? You cross check someone twice and the sceond one follows through to the back of the head. Kopecky turns around and Del zotto faces him head on almost as to dish out more punishment . Kopecky decks him ( i don't blame him , how much more did anyone expect him to take from Del Zotto?).
Done deal.
Michael Rupp had no business jumping a guy who was clearly sticking up for himself.

Since: Nov 20, 2007
Posted on: December 31, 2011 11:30 am

Kopecky punches Del Zotto leading to late scrum

Kris Barch is an idiot.  he should watch the tape again and see that Kopecky had it coming.  Rupp taking care of business, as usual.  Too bad he's not in Pittsburgh anymore.  the Panthers should just drop it.  the Rangers have some serious punchers on their team (Rupp, Prust and Dubinsky) and they were protecting Del Zotto, who took a CHEAP SHOT by a f@ggotty arsewipe.  i hope Rupp breaks Kopecky's face open the next time.  that reminds me, i need some PIMs for my fantasy team.  i'll keep a lookout for their next game.

Since: Sep 5, 2009
Posted on: December 31, 2011 11:19 am

Kopecky punches Del Zotto leading to late scrum

You want to see a classic sucker punch? check out this link

Since: Jan 15, 2008
Posted on: December 31, 2011 10:40 am

Kopecky punches Del Zotto leading to late scrum

I'd say Freets doesn't know what a "cross-check" is.

Since: Feb 10, 2009
Posted on: December 31, 2011 10:34 am

Kopecky punches Del Zotto leading to late scrum

nice job Rupp way to take care of business

Since: Sep 28, 2010
Posted on: December 31, 2011 10:29 am

Kopecky punches Del Zotto leading to late scrum

Just saw the full video. That wasn't a cross-check, that was a stick swing to the back of the head.  I think every team has at least 3 guys that would have punched Del Zotto after the stick to the head.

Since: Sep 25, 2009
Posted on: December 31, 2011 10:27 am

Kopecky punches Del Zotto leading to late scrum

sdg..I agree 100%. You 2 hand a guy in the back of the head, you better have your hads up ready, thats a punk move!!!

Since: Sep 28, 2010
Posted on: December 31, 2011 10:20 am

Kopecky punches Del Zotto leading to late scrum

If you hit a guy in the head with a crosscheck from behind and his helmet falls off, expect to get hit back. Spitting in someone's face is the worst, not a sucker-punch. What's worse, a cheap shot from behind, or a cheap shot when you are facing each other.  I'll wait for a better view of the crosscheck before coming up with a final verdict.

Since: Sep 6, 2006
Posted on: December 31, 2011 9:53 am

Kopecky punches Del Zotto leading to late scrum

  As a Wings fan, we dont get to see this type of stuff very often. Already programmed my dvr for the rematch next week! Looking forward to it. This is exactly why they should not remove fighting from the game.Kopecky had a cranus in the anus moment after getting his bell rung, and Rupp answered the bell for his teamate.

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