Saying that he "respects the league's decision" and is pleased that NHL commissioner Gary Bettman respectfully heard his personal appeal of his original ten-game suspension, Rangers forward Daniel Carcillo spoke with reporters Tuesday at the Staples Center after learning that the league had lowered his suspension to six games, thus making him eligible to play in the Stanley Cup Final, beginning with Game Four in New York.
"It's awesome, it kind of puts a little jump in your step," Carcillo said of his reaction when he heard the news from Commissioner Bettman Tuesday morning. "I had been kind of a dead-man walking the past couple of weeks. To hear that this morning, as soon as you wake up, gives you a little boost, a little energy. I am just really encouraged. Hopefully they don't need me, but it's nice to be available and be around the guys again if they do."
Carcillo had been suspended for making contact with an official during Game Three of the Eastern Conference Final against the Montreal Canadiens. His penalty called for an automatic ten-game suspension, but upon hearing Carcillo's appeal, Bettman changed the category of his punishment, and then decided upon a length of six games.
The veteran winger, who has two goals in eight playoff games this spring, was contrite about his role in what took place at Madison Square Garden during Game Three against the Canadiens.
"It's an emotional time in the game and I'm an emotional player," explained Carcillo. "Sometimes you cross that line. Obviously, whether it's an accident or not you can't hit an official. I know I was wrong and I apologize for my part of it. In the end I respect the league's decision."
The Rangers will certainly welcome Carcillo back when he's available. Though he did not appear in any Stanley Cup Final games a year ago, he did earn a ring with the Chicago Blackhawks, making him one of three Cup winners--along with Brad Richards and Martin St. Louis--on the Blueshirts.
"The biggest thing is to dumb-down the distractions," offered Carcillo, who ironically was acquired by New York from Los Angeles back in January. "Everyone and their mother comes out and texts you and all of a sudden you're hearing from people you haven't heard from in years. You just have to put those distractions on the backburner and take it for what it is. This is what we battle for three rounds and 82 games. To finally be here, just try your best to be in the moment."