New York Rangers defenseman K’Andre Miller was ejected from Sunday afternoon’s game for spitting on an opponent.
Miller received an automatic match penalty at 16:37 of the first period for spitting on Los Angeles Kings defenseman Drew Doughty. A match penalty brings a game misconduct and a review from the league.
‘The kid feels bad about it,’ Rangers coach Gerard Gallant told reporters after the game. ‘He said it was an accident.’
Doughty told reporters he was shocked when it happened.
‘Whether or not he meant to do that, I don’t know,’ he said. ‘It was a pretty big loogie on my face, so I was pretty pissed.’
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Miller tweeted on Monday that the spitting was ‘completely accidental’ and that he had met with Doughty after the game to apologize and explain himself.
The NHL’s department of player safety announced that Miller would have a hearing for unsportsmanlike conduct.
Forward Garnet Hathaway, then with the Washington Capitals, was suspended for three games for spitting on then-Anaheim Ducks defenseman Erik Gudbranson in 2019.
If Miller is suspended, it could spell problems for the Rangers. They’re already without defenseman Ryan Lindgren, who was hurt after being checked by Washington’s T.J. Oshie on Saturday.
Plus, they are trying to play with a sparse lineup so they can accrue enough cap space for another trade, reportedly for Chicago Blackhawks star Patrick Kane, before Friday’s 3 p.m. ET deadline.
Kane, who has a full no-movement clause but has expressed interest in the Rangers, was sent back to Chicago by the Blackhawks on Saturday in a ‘roster management’ move.
The Rangers on Saturday traded Vitali Kravtsov to the Vancouver Canucks and sent Jake Leschyshyn to the American Hockey League to create cap space.
Despite missing Miller for most of the game and dressing but not playing Braden Schneider for cap reasons, the Rangers defeated the Kings 5-2 to end a four-game losing streak.