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Brandon Prust suspended two games for Stepan hit, due to its 'extreme lateness'

Rangers, Canadiens fight fiercely on and off ice

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In this May 22, 2014 file photo, New York Rangers center Derek Stepan (21) lies on the ice after taking a hit from Montreal Canadiens forward Brandon Prust during the first period of Game 3 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup playoffs Eastern Conference finals in New York. Stepan has a broken jaw and is undergoing surgery. Rangers coach Alain Vigneault made the surprising announcement Friday, May 23, 2014, on the first of two off days in the series New York leads 2-1. Prust wasn't penalized in the first period of Montreal's 3-2 overtime win Thursday night, but he faces an NHL hearing Friday and a possible suspension. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

Fittingly, the punishment for Brandon Prust's nasty, injurious hit on Derek Stepan came late. That was the main problem with the hit, after all -- it was delivered well after Stepan moved the puck, well after hitting him was still a legal option. 

Somehow, the whole thing was missed by the on-ice officials. Prust didn't see the penalty box until Derek Dorsett challenged him to a fight later on. A day later, however, the discipline arrived, as the Department of Player Safety has suspended Prust two games for the collision: 

"What elevates this hit to merit supplemental discipline is its extreme lateness," says Stephane Quintal (I think), "and the significant head contact that results from the way it is delivered."

How extreme is this extreme lateness? Nearly a full second, which is an eternity in hockey terms.

"That is well past the point when a player should have to remain on guard for a player finishing a check," says Quintal. And in fact, Prust isn't even finishing a check here.

"Prust doesn't even commit to this hit until after Stepen releases the puck," Quintal adds. 

That's unconscionable. Add to that Stepan's broken jaw and Prust's suspension history and this suspension is a no-brainer.

Frankly, I'd say the DOPS has built a good case to suspend Prust for more than two games, playoff conversion rule be damned. There's no reason he should be back in this series at all. Instead, he'll be in the lineup for Game 6, should this series go that far.

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