Brandon Prust didn’t exactly receive a warm welcome back to New York in the playoffs, especially after delivering a late hit on Derek Stepan.  Now he’ll get to catch up with the league while he’s in town.  Prust has been scheduled for a phone hearing for the hit, though, since he’s right down the street, he’s welcome to attend in person.

The play happened early in the first period of a scoreless Game Three at Madison Square Garden.

Prust hit an unsuspecting Stepan well after the puck was gone.  The hit was high, though the initial point of contact looked to have been Stepan’s chest.  The Rangers’ center never saw him coming.

No penalty was called on the play.  Referees for the game were Marc Joannette and Kevin Pollock.

Fortunately for the Rangers, Stepan returned to the game.  That bit of good news shouldn’t lessen Prust’s sentence, though it likely will. The severity of the injury shouldn’t be the driving factor in suspensions — it should be the intent.  While this wasn’t an intentional headshot, it was a severely late hit.   [Update: Stepan suffered a broken jaw that required surgery and is out indefinitely.]

The unpenalized hit set off a fight between Prust and Derek Dorsett that ultimately led to Dan Carcillo’s ejection – and likely suspension – for battling linesman Scott Driscoll.

After the game, Rangers coach Alain Vigneault commented, “We looked at [the hit on Stepan].  They missed it.”

Canadiens coach Michel Therrien disagreed. When asked if he was worried about potential review by the league, he replied, “I’m not concerned, no.”!/DarrenDreger/status/469646631265390592

As of Friday afternoon, the injury was worse than it initially appeared.  Derek Stepan suffered a broken jaw on the play which required surgery.

Prust’s phone hearing is scheduled for 4:00pm on Friday.  The outcome of that call may determine whether he suits up for another playoff game this postseason.

UPDATE:  Prust has been suspended for two games.

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