Staal hit not "vicious," no discipline expected

April, 19, 2012
4/19/12
12:44
AM ET
Already missing veteran captain Daniel Alfredsson, the Senators witnessed an unwelcome sight in the second period of Wednesday's 3-2 overtime win -- another one of their top three forwards down on the ice in the aftermath of a big hit.

Leading the way with Alfredsson out, top-line center Jason Spezza left the game during the second period after getting leveled by Rangers defenseman Marc Staal while carrying the puck into the Senators zone with his head down.

Although the hit left Spezza reeling at first, he returned to the game to start the third period. Staal, who was not penalized for the hit, didn't think the play warranted any outcry.

"My read was that he had the puck pulled to the outside. I kind of bit on it and he pulls right back into me and his head went into my chest," Staal said. "I haven't see it or anything but I don't think it was anything too vicious."

Although the NHL's Department of Player Safety's actions have been difficult to predict of late -- the league's disciplinary arm has come under fire after a number of questionable rulings -- Staal is not expected to face any supplementary discipline.

Good thing for the Rangers, too. The team is already without rookie winger Carl Hagelin, who served the second of a three-game suspension assessed for his elbow on Alfredsson in Game 1.
Katie Strang covers the NHL for ESPN.com. She is a graduate of Michigan State University and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.
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