We see bodily fluids spilled all over the ice during a hockey game, but we don’t usually see someone get penalized for it.
During Sunday's game between the New York Rangers and Los Angeles Kings, New York blueliner K’Andre Miller was awarded a match penalty and was kicked out of the game for spitting on LA rearguard Drew Doughty. It all happened during a hectic post-whistle scrum just over 16 minutes after the first puck was dropped.
K'Andre Miller was given a match penalty for spitting at Drew Doughty.
Back in 2019, Garnet Hathaway was suspended three games for spitting. Do we see a similar suspension here? pic.twitter.com/bJQTllNnqF
— Tim and Friends (@timandfriends) February 26, 2023
K'Andre Miller has been awarded a match penalty for spitting on Drew Doughty. pic.twitter.com/bNY5fp63Tx
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) February 26, 2023
Miller claims the act was not intentional and that he spoke to Doughty about it after the game. Nevertheless, Miller was not allowed to see the ice for the remainder of the contest.
The timing could not have been worse, either. New York was already playing with just five defensemen due to some cap finagling – related to a potential trade for Patrick Kane – and did not dress young blueliner Braden Schneider for Sunday’s game. The Rangers were left with just four defensemen to finish off the remaining 44 minutes of the game. Despite the tough circumstances, New York was still able to earn a 5-2 victory.
We haven’t seen an incident like this happen on the ice since Garnet Hathaway spat in Erik Gudbranson’s face all the way back in 2019. That whole scene was more chaotic than the interaction between Miller and Doughty, but the result was the same – a match penalty.
Hathaway was eventually suspended for three games after the very obvious spitting incident. Do we see the same result for Miller? The NHL’s Department of Player Safety will surely take a closer look at Sunday's series of events and render a decision.
Through 59 games this season, Miller has scored six goals and 30 points while ranking second on the team in ice time. The Rangers entered play on Sunday with 75 points in 59 games — good for third place in the competitive Metropolitan Division.