P.K. Subban discusses collision with Ryan Reaves, ensuing fights with Chris Kreider

WFAN Sports Radio
WFAN Sports Radio

The Rangers had been consistently criticized for their lack of toughness last season, leading to a new front office regime that prioritized physicality in the offseason, with enforcer Ryan Reaves being among the notable additions.

But it was Reaves who fell to the ice with a leg injury after colliding with New Jersey’s P.K. Subban during Wednesday’s preseason game, meaning Reaves wasn’t around to deal out any retaliation. So Chris Kreider handled it, trying to drop the gloves with Subban right after the opening draw to start the second period before the two did tangle at the start of the third.

Subban, who appeared concerned for Reaves after the collision and called for a trainer, said that the takedown was unintentional, but he eventually had to stand up for himself after the Rangers continued to come after him.

“I’ve been playing in this league a long time,” Subban said after the Devils’ 6-2 loss, their first of the preseason. “I don’t go out there to try and injure anybody or do anything like that. I try to play the game fair, but I try to play hard, and that’s what I did in the third.”

Reaves and Subban both went into the corner after a loose puck, and with Reaves in front, Subban went into the boards and his left leg got caught with Reaves’ right leg, forcing Reaves to fall backward while his left leg appeared to get caught on the ice, causing an awkward fall and a heated discussion between Kreider and Subban shortly after.

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“I just went into the corner, tried making myself big,” Subban said. “I tried to go in there and brace myself. Obviously my leg was still on the ice, kind of dragging a little bit. And I know his leg sort of buckled. It’s a tough play. Preseason, you try to go out and play and get your reps in, and hopefully you don’t get hurt or too banged up.

“He’s an important player for their team, and a guy that I know. It’s just unfortunate. I hate to see that. Obviously you saw my reaction after it happened, trying to help him, but I just hope it’s not too bad. It’s unfortunate.”

Rangers head coach Gerard Gallant told reporters after the game that he doesn’t believe Reaves’ injury to be serious, and didn’t think anything Subban did was intentional. But New York’s response seemed to be more in line with the identity the franchise tried to build starting in the offseason.

“Yeah, you gotta respond,” Subban said. “I think at the start of the second I was a little surprised. I wasn’t expecting that…but at the beginning of the third I wanted to give an opportunity for our team to get back in the game but also send a message that things happen in a game, and it was obviously an accident.”

Follow Ryan Chichester on Twitter: @ryanchichester1

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