Rangers' Artem Anisimov apologizes to Tampa Bay Lightning players for goal celebration
Rangers center Artem Anisimov on Friday apologized to the Lightning, a day after his goal celebration sparked a fracas during the second period of Tampa Bay's 3-2 shootout victory.
Speaking to reporters in New York for the first time, Anisimov said he meant no disrespect.
“I just want to apologize to Tampa. I didn’t mean something by it," he said. "It’s just my celebration, and when I score goals I want to do something unusual. I apologize to Tampa.”
"He did something wrong so, of course, we appreciate that," Lightning captain Vinny Lecavalier said. "He's a young guy and the fact that he's saying it is good."
Anisimov used his stick as a mock rifle after he scored a shorthanded goal to give the Rangers a 2-1 lead, figuratively firing at Lightning goaltender Mathieu Garon. The action sparked a confrontation with Lecavalier, defenseman Marc-Andre Bergeron and Steve Downie, who took turns trying to get at Anisimov. The episode produced 38 penalty minutes with Anisimov and Downie getting 10-minute misconducts.
Anisimov told New York reporters he was not trying to show up the Lightning but was imitating the celebration of Ilya Gorokhov, a former teammate of his in Russia's Kontinental Hockey League.
“I watched him and I liked it," Anisimov said, "and I told myself when I play NHL and I score I want to do the same thing.”
"I never do that celebration again,” Anisimov said. “It’s a good lesson for me… No more shooting.”
Lecavalier said he spoke to Rangers center and former Lightning teammate Brad Richards after the game. He said Richards told him Anisimov got a talking to by some of his teammates.
"I don't think their team was really impressed with that," Lecavalier said.