We are watching a messy situation unfold right in front of our eyes. The train wreck that is the Tony DeAngelo fallout from the New York Rangers hasn’t quite screeched to a halt yet. No, in fact the careening hull of speeding metal has just begun to pick up pace, flipping and rolling as beat writers and twitter trolls leap on and off. Deep in this mess are intertwined layers of drama, shoddy reporting, and, more than anything else, questions. So many questions.
Here is what we know: DeAngelo is on waivers and Alexandar Georgiev was held out of practice yesterday. We also know that the New York Rangers have yet to release any sort of official statement regarding the situation. We know that the Rangers play tonight on national television, so someone will have to say something, right?
Here is what we have heard: there was an altercation between DeAngelo and Georgiev in the tunnel directly following the overtime loss to the Penguins on Saturday January 30th. The altercation is assumed to have been brought on following a miscommunication between the pair of players behind the Rangers net, resulting in a turnover. Initially it was reported that somebody had stepped in and struck DeAngelo. Chris Kreider was the first to be potentially linked, with some pointing at his knuckles during his post-game press conference. K’Andre Miller’s name got thrown in the mix for many reasons and now it’s being suggested that it might’ve been him who broke up the altercation.
There have been all sorts of rumors tossed around, with some of which having been proven to be unsubstantiated. It was incorrectly reported that DeAngelo had been bullying Miller this season, and that he had stolen the puck from Miller’s first NHL goal. Miller and his agent have denied such claims, and the puck was seen to have entered into the possession of NYR trainers. Miller himself was reported to have texted DeAngelo yesterday, and his agent said they had a perfectly normal teammate relationship.
Tony DeAngelo has long had a problematic reputation in this league. Fans across the internet rejoiced at his placement on waivers, speaking volumes about how poorly he is regarded. He has been a public relations nightmare since his junior career, and he has now fallen out of favor with three NHL teams. His welcome with the Rangers has been wearing thin, but it is unclear for how long. He had been asked to tone down his social media presence on a couple occasions. I am sure the Rangers did not enjoy being linked to a public persona that spreads conspiracy theories and far-right diatribe. He has always been vocal on the ice and surely in the locker room. Now that he has cleared waivers it’s even more clear that no team wants any part of this train wreck.
There are a couple points that need to be made clear when regarding this whole mess. First, this is NOT an example of cancel culture. DeAngelo didn’t get “canceled”, he got cut. His antics have always made him and his organizations look bad. Every person on the internet knows that your online persona can get you in trouble with your employer, but DeAngelo wasn’t cut for his online persona. DeAngelo was cut because of how cancerous to the locker room he had become. DeAngelo was cut because he went after the goaltender, violating one of hockey’s most sacred unwritten rules. DeAngelo was cut because one of the most patient organizations in hockey had lost patience with him.
The second point that needs to be made is about journalism. The cascade of problematic reports and unconfirmed rumors has left a stink on the New York Rangers and its fanbase. To allow ourselves to be consumed by instant information, giving credence to scenarios before there is reason, clouds the truth that is out there to be seen. We have to be willing to be patient, and to break the news when it’s the most accurate, and not just when you are first. There’s a right way to do things, and this just hasn’t been it.
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