Tue Feb 01 10:35pm EST
The majority opinion is that Prust should have at least been given an Emmy nomination for his performance:
Ryan Callahan(notes) of the Rangers scored on the ensuing 5-minute power play to tie the game, 3-3. Prust, who scored a first-period goal for New York, returned for regular shifts in the third period.
Staal is a squeaky clean player, having earned three major penalties and zero match penalties in his career. He's automatically suspended for the Penguins' next game, barring a reprieve from the NHL.
The reactions have been heavily slanted against Prust here. Seth Rorabaugh of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette wrote: "Brandon Prust looked like Glass Joe after taking that punch from Staal. Nice sell job."
Not surprisingly, reactions were immediate and varied depending on what type of hockey you like, and which team you happen to have a rooting interest in. Mike Milbury and Keith Jones spoke about the play on the Versus intermission report and felt the refs blew the call, while ESPN's John Buccigross felt Prust embellished the play, saying via Twitter, "Terrible call on jordan staal. He get elbowed in the head, pokes Prust with a jab, Prust embellishes and Staal gets tossed. Nhl going soft."
All of this is true, but let's not lose sight of the fact that Staal skated over and punched him in the face. That he was given a match penalty was due to Prust's embellishment, but it's not as if Staal didn't open himself up to it with an uncharacteristically aggressive play.
“It was kind of surprising, it happened quick, he caught me on the sweet spot, i got my bell run,” said Prust, who sat out the rest of the second period but played in the third. “It was just more the surprise. I told Rammer (trainer Jim Ramsey) I was ready to go. They checked me over. I think it was all a reaction (by Jordan Staal). I came in and hit a guy (Tyler Kennedy(notes)) and he came in and stuck up for him. He threw a punch. I agree with the call (a five-minute match penalty for intent to injure and a game misconduct). Stuff happens on the ice. I’m happy he did, we got a five-minute penalty. Thank you.”
The Penguins won in
a shootout, 4-3. Here's hoping the NHL does the right thing and rescinds any further punishment