- Matt Ehalt, ESPN New York contributor
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Henrik Lundqvist's blast of the referees following Game 6 has created a media stir, but not to MSG Network hockey analyst Stan Fischler. He's chalking it up to the heat of the moment and as something not to be looked at as anything more than a player just letting out frustration.
"I don't think if he had time to mull it over, he would say it against in a relaxed moment," Fischler said. "But you get upset and you say things. It happens all the times. It's almost like a hockey version of road rage."
With less than a minute left in Game 6 on Monday and the Rangers leading 3-1, the Senators scored a goal during a scramble in front of the net. Lundqvist believe that Ottawa's Chris Neil interfered with him and tried to kick the puck in, but the referees allowed the goal. The Rangers had to fend off Ottawa for another 38.4 second to seal the win.
After the game, Lundqvist said the goal was an "absolute joke."
"When it's goalie interference and a kick and they still call it a goal, that scares me," he told reporters. "Someone wanted them back in the game, for sure."
Fischler, who works as an analyst during Rangers games, believes the short turnaround from the end of the game to the interviews leads to emotional responses like the one Lundqvist had. He said it's unfair in some ways to the athletes because there isn't truly enough time to calm oneself before speaking to the media after a tough game.
"(Lundqvist) was involved in a pile up, he was lucky to get out intact," Fischler said. "He's totally focused. He's emotional like a lot of goalies. And you say the first thing that comes to your head. It's not something that you think about. Therefore, I don't take this thing literally. I take it as an emotional outburst to be dismissed out of hand like the 180 (others) that happen in the course of three periods of hockey."
The goalie has not been fined for his comments and Fischler does not see any reason why Lundqvist would be docked. The Rangers host the Senators in Game 7 of the series on Thursday night at 7 p.m. at Madison Square Garden.
"I believe the commissioner and the director of player safety Brendan Shanahan have enough of a feel for the game that they understand in this particular case it was a simply an innocent, emotional comment and it should not be made a federal case or be fined," Fischler said.
34dPierre LeBrun and Joe McDonald