Canadiens winger Brandon Prust wasn’t penalized for his extremely late hit on Rangers center Derek Stepan Thursday, but Adam Proteau says if you watch the video, you can’t deny he should be suspended for it.
More than one suspension-worthy incident took place in Game 3 of the Rangers/Canadiens series – Daniel Carcillo was ejected and should be sitting for at least three games after manhandling an official – but the dirtiest play of the evening wasn’t caught by on-ice officials. However, that doesn’t mean Brandon Prust, the perpetrator of the dirtiest play, will or should escape supplementary discipline for an extremely late hit on Blueshirts center Derek Stepan. In a perfect world (which we should know by now the NHL is not), Prust will be suspended for more games than Carcillo.
You can argue about Prust’s intent to injure when he moved quickly across the ice at Stepan. You can argue Prust didn’t target Stepan’s head. But what nobody can argue is how ridiculously late the hit was. Stepan had already chipped the puck off the boards and far out of the zone by the time Prust barreled into him.
In an NHL that’s supposed to be looking for its players to respect each other, that’s simply not acceptable and deserves a significant banishment to the press box. For liability reasons, THN’s battery of attorneys have advised me not to advise you to hold your breath that will happen, as we all know the NHL looks for reasons to dial down punishments of players wherever possible. But there’s no justification for what Prust did. If he’s not suspended at least for Game 4, the NHL should hang its collective head in shame.