Rangers’ Miller: Spitting on Doughty ‘accidental’

    Kristen Shilton is a national NHL reporter for ESPN.

New York Rangers defenseman K’Andre Miller insists the spitting incident that occurred in Sunday’s game with Los Angeles Kings’ defender Drew Doughty was “completely accidental.”

Miller took to Twitter on Monday to share his side of what happened the night before, when he received a match penalty and was ejected from the game late in the first period for spitting in Doughty’s face.

“I have all the respect in the world for Drew Doughty and what happened was completely accidental,” Miller wrote in a statement posted to Twitter. “I would never intend to do something like that on purpose, it goes against everything I am as a person and player. I felt awful about it and I am thankful Drew gave me the opportunity to apologize and explain myself in person after the game.”

Any spitting motion results in an automatic match penalty, and those are automatically reviewed by league commissioner Gary Bettman. It’s possible Miller will still face supplemental discipline in the form of suspension.

New York went on to win the game 5-2. Doughty told reporters after the game that he was “shocked” by what Miller did.

“I don’t even know if I said anything to him after, but I just immediately went to the ref to try to get the penalty,” Doughty said. “But you don’t want to see things like that in this game, I don’t know if I’ve ever seen that. I’m sure it has happened, but not that I’ve seen.

“It’s unfortunate, and whether or not he meant to do it, I have no idea. … I was pretty pissed.”

A looming suspension to Miller could make things complicated for New York ahead of Friday’s trade deadline. The team was already rotating just five defensemen Sunday before Miller was ejected, although six were initially dressed.

Braden Schneider did not take a shift in the game because the Rangers intended to send him and forward Ryan Carpenter to the American Hockey League this week and open up enough cap space to potentially acquire Chicago Blackhawks ‘ forward Patrick Kane. Miller being suspended would create another wrinkle — but still leave several options — for the Rangers to broker a deal with the Blackhawks.

New York’s next game is Wednesday against Philadelphia.

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