Until now, Tony DeAngelo hasn’t spoken publicly about what got him in so much trouble with the New York Rangers organization. Rumors were that an altercation off the ice led to the Rangers finally being fed up with his antics and, as a result, the team waived the defenseman and noted he’d never play for them again.
While he’s still technically property of the team and the organization has yet to find a trade partner for the skilled-but-polarizing blueliner, on Friday, DeAngelo finally discussed the incident and his split from the Rangers. He spoke with Larry Brooks of the New York Post and took a good chunk of the responsibility for his current situation.
“I’m obviously disappointed about the way things ended in New York and how things have unfolded, but I’m not going to sit here and play the victim card at all,” said DeAngelo as per Brooks.
He added that he’s made mistakes both when it comes to his play and actions on the ice and while he didn’t discuss some of his polarizing decisions unrelated to hockey, he knows he put himself in this position. He added:
“Hockey-wise, there are mistakes that I have made. I’ve gotten hot-headed at times. I’m the first one to admit that and I take responsibility for it. I’ve tried to learn and get better and better at it, but there are still times where things have happened and emotionally I’ve gone over the line a little bit, and I accept responsibility for that. The thing with Alex, exactly like he said, emotions got away.”
DeAngelo Has to Work to Overcome a Reputation Now
While it’s a good step to see the defensemen taking some of the heat for his involvement in what went down, as Brooks points out, his being dumped by the Rangers isn’t just about a scrap with Alexandar Georgiev. Brooks notes, “Allegedly, there had been other incidents that had alarmed teammates and upper management.”
DeAngelo has admitted to directing a slur at a teammate back when he was in the Ontario Hockey League and just 18 years old. He noted, “I accepted responsibility for it then, I still accept responsibility for it now. I learned from it.” He said he explained himself to every team that asked and he says he remained friends with that teammate following the incident.
At the same time, there are things DeAngelo is taking heat for and there’s no proof he’s involved. For example, his stealing the puck from K’Andre Miller after the defenseman’s first goal seems to be a story that has just blown up, but there are testimonies that there’s any truth to the rumor at all.
Perhaps it doesn’t matter now.
Former teammate Mark Staal said, “I feel bad for him, to be honest. Whether it’s the junior stuff that warps into this, I don’t know. He’s a lightning rod, and yeah, he yells at coaches and referees and he has these moments where he goes overboard, but he’s a good teammate.”
Will It Matter?
For DeAngelo, this might be step one in a number of steps to try and repair a reputation that has both taken a beating and is probably well earned. We’ll see if his finally talking about it and taking on some of the blame entices a team to take a closer look at him.
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