The New York Rangers have been playing with the minimum number of players on their roster over the last few games and it appears their roster issues will only grow.
The NHL Player Safety Twitter account announced that Rangers’ defenseman K’Andre Miller has been suspended for three games for spitting at Drew Doughty in the team’s 5-2 win over the Kings Sunday night. Video evidence confirmed that Miller spit at Doughty during a stoppage in play that later caused a scrum. Miller was promptly ejected with a major penalty.
Following the win, Miller could not be reached for comment but Rangers’ head coach Gerard Gallant stated afterward that “The kid feels bad about it. He said it was an accident.”
Miller reportedly apologized after the game to Doughty and that the act was not done on purpose. Monday morning, the 23-year-old tweeted out an apology saying “I have all the respect in the world for Drew Doughty and what happened was completely accidental. I would never intend to do something like that on purpose, it goes against everything I am as a person and player.”
Before the decision, the NFL Player Safety Twitter account announced that they would have a hearing for the unsportsmanlike conduct. This is the third known suspension of a player for spitting at the opposition. The latest of which came three years ago, when former Washington Capitals forward Garnet Hathaway received a three-game suspension for a spitting incident against then-Anaheim Ducks defenseman Erik Gudbranson.
Miller’s suspension leaves the Rangers in dire straights along their defensive pairs. In Sunday’s win, his ejection prompted New York to play just four defensemen with Adam Fox, Jacob Trouba, Niko Mikkola, and Ben Harpur all playing over 20 minutes of ice time. With Braden Schneider’s “roster management” demotion to the AHL, there’s a chance New York will have only five defensive skaters available for Wednesday’s game against the Philadelphia Flyers.