A first look at Jordan Staal’s gloved punch to the kisser of the Rangers Brandon Prust looked like a devastating blow bound to draw a suspension for the Penguins centre. A second and third look at the clip shows that Prust took an opportune moment to exercise his acting chops. Staal was assessed a five minute major and a match penalty on the play, which automatically subjected the play to further review from the NHL. Staal will not miss the Penguins Wednesday night contest for the “punch”, and according to TSN’s Darren Dreger there will be no further discipline from the NHL.
Staal is a big strong hockey player, but embellishment on the part of Prust is evident on a close look at this play. Thankfully the NHL got this one right and will not hand down any additional punishment on Staal. Prust had taken a number of solid punches to his melon from Deryk Engelland earlier in the game, but dropped like Snooki in a nightclub with one tap from Staal.
Ben Eager earned a four game suspension earlier this season when he was still a member of the Atlanta Thrashers after clocking Toronto’s Colby Armstrong with a vicious right hand.
Staal would miss the remainder of the game, but the Penguins managed to defeat the Rangers 4-3 in a shootout. Call it another case of things happening so quickly on the ice that the officials made what they figured to be the right call. Had Prust not sold the punch with a dive then it’s quite possible that there would have been no call on the play. Still, we applaud the NHL for getting this one right after the fact.
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