- Katie Strang, ESPN.com
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NEW YORK -- New York Rangers defenseman John Moore was suspended two games for his third-period hit on Montreal Canadiens forward Dale Weise in the Habs' 7-4 win in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals Tuesday night.
The league announced the suspension Wednesday evening after Moore's hearing with the NHL's Department of Player Safety earlier in the day.
The incident, which appeared to leave Weise disoriented, occurred at 10:41 of the third period of Tuesday's game. Moore, a first-time offender, was assessed a match penalty for an illegal check to the head.
The 23-year-old defenseman will not be eligible to return unless the Rangers advance to the Stanley Cup finals.
The league deemed Weise's head the "main point of contact," according to the video that accompanied the release. Though the hit was not categorized as late by NHL standards, both the "angle" and the "elevation" of the hit resulted in Weise's head "absorbing the brunt of the impact."
Though Weise appeared shaken up on the play, he returned to the game after a visit -- albeit brief -- to a league-mandated "quiet room."
Earlier in the day, Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said he felt that the penalty on the ice was sufficient and warranted no additional discipline.
"It doesn't meet the league standard as far as a late hit," Vigneault told reporters Wednesday morning in Montreal. "It was a hit that Johnny caught him a little high in the chest; player didn't see it coming. It probably warrants the penalty that was given on the ice. Other than that, I don't see what else it could warrant, but I've been surprised before."
Vigneault even seemed to take a slight shot at Weise, who was drilled in the neutral zone, unsuspecting: "Well, the player didn't see him coming, obviously, but the guy was admiring his pass a little bit at the same time."
With Moore done for the rest of the series, depth defenseman and former Canadien Raphael Diaz is expected to draw into the lineup.