Videos by OutKick
Just a general note: If you want to continue enjoying sporting events inside the iconic Madison Square Garden, it’s probably a good idea to refrain from molly whoppin’ someone across the face while inside those hallowed grounds.
Unfortunately for the New York Rangers fan that knocked a Tampa Bay Lightning fan out cold Thursday night, he didn’t get that memo beforehand. Not only was 29-year-old James Anastasio of Staten Island arrested Friday and charged with two counts of assault, two counts of disorderly conduct and two counts of harassment, but his privileges of being inside the most famous arena in the world have been revoked — for life.
“We are cooperating fully with law enforcement as this is now a criminal matter. The assailant will also be banned from The Garden and all other MSG venues for life,” MSG said in its statement. “All guests — no matter what team they support — should feel safe and respected in The Garden. This has and always will be our policy.”
In the video recorded by a fan in the arena, you can see Anastasio clearly uncork a left hook on the Lightning fan, who fell straight to the ground. The fan who was punched was transported to the hospital and is in stable condition.
Fox 13’s Evan Axelbank reports Anastasio punched another person who tried to stop him from fleeing the scene. That person refused medical treatment, police said.
Brutality was a common theme both off and on the ice, as in the closing moments of Tampa Bay’s 3-1 victory in Game 5, both teams engaged in an all-out brawl. Most notably, Lightning captain Steven Stamkos and New York’s Alexis Lafrenière exchanged haymakers after the final horn sounded.
Anastasio must’ve been inspired by what he saw on the ice, though he now pays a huge price for it. The Rangers, meanwhile, must regroup and attempt to force a Game 7 in the series. The Lightning will host the Rangers in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Final Saturday at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN.