Multiple sources indicated to ESPNNewYork.com that Kreider will not face a hearing for the hit, which earned him a cross-checking penalty with 1:15 left in regulation.
Kreider expressed remorse for putting his team short-handed at such a critical moment in the game and apologized to his teammates afterwards for doing so.
“Obviously, I felt terrible about it. I put the team in a very bad position,” Kreider said after practice on Monday. “It’s something that could be avoided [and] should be avoided.
Kreider said he was trying to get to the bench and should’ve avoided the contact “altogether” but he did not seem to agree with Upshall’s assessment of the hit. Upshall, who was sent sprawling to the ice near the Panthers' bench, called the blow “vicious” in an interview with MSG Network.
“The intent was to get him out of the way,” Kreider said. “The intent wasn’t to do what I did and take a penalty late in the game like that. In retrospect, 90 seconds left in the game, [I should] get to the bench, try to get around guys, try not to do what I did.”
Kreider does not have any prior incidents with the NHL’s Department of Player Safety. Whether that played a factor in the decision not to subject the 22-year-old to any further discipline is not clear, but the Rangers have to be feeling a sense of relief that they will not lose him for any amount of time.
Kreider has been playing his best hockey of the season as of late, and was critical in helping set up J.T. Miller’s first-period goal Sunday night. The former Boston College standout has seven points in his last seven games.
“He’s a big, strong young man who plays a physical-type game. I don’t think he was trying to hurt anybody in that situation. [He was] probably just trying to get to the bench, really, and somebody was in his way,” coach Alain Vigneault said.
“Obviously, he’s playing real well on both ends of the rink and hopefully he’ll keep doing that for us.”