Jacob Trouba opens up about his hit on Jujhar Khaira, won’t change style
A tired Jacob Trouba was taking questions after the New York Rangers seven game win streak was snapped by the Colorado Avalanche at the Garden.
The defenseman just finished playing a combined 39:46 of ice time in back-to-back games. He also completed consecutive Gordie Howe Hat Tricks by notching a goal, assist, and a fight in each contest.
Both scraps came after he leveled someone with a clean shoulder to the chest. Last night it was the Avs’ Nathan MacKinnon, on Tuesday it was Chicago’s Jujhar Khaira.
Both players had their heads down when the contact was made. MacKinnon returned from his collision, Khaira did not.
Trouba addresses Khaira hit
Khaira was injured after a hard bodycheck by Trouba in the second period of the Rangers’ 6-2 win at the United Center on Tuesday. Khaira’s head was down as he looked for the puck at his skates. No penalty was assessed on the play.
“Obviously it was very scary and unfortunate,” Trouba said. “I exchanged text messages with him after and he told me he’s doing ‘ok’, which is good to see.”
After the hit, television cameras picked up a genuinely concerned Trouba watching as Khaira was stretchered off the ice.
“No one wants to see a player get injured,” he said. “It’s a tough situation for everyone, I hope he recovers fast.”
Trouba has no issue defending himself
There is a growing trend in the NHL these days where big, clean hits are being challenged with fists. The game has certainly evolved from the hard-hitting 90s, where a player caught with their head down was considered at fault.
Knowing what we know about concussions today, that thought process has changed and so have the rules. Any contact to the head is now strictly prohibited and usually harshly punished. However, a clean hit is still a clean hit as was the case with both of Trouba’s checks.
Still, the 27 year old defenseman, who also has 14 points on the year had to defend himself. After hitting MacKinnon, Gabriel Landeskog went directly after Trouba. In Chicago, it took a few minutes before Riley Stillman dropped the mitts with him too.
“Do I think you have to defend yourself if the hit is deemed clean? No.” Trouba explained with his hands cut and bleeding from his two fights. “Do I have a problem standing up for myself if someone wants to standup for their teammate? No, I don’t have an issue with that.”
Trouba is second in the NHL with 5 fights, mostly as result of his physical play. Does that mean he may change his style a bit?
“It’s a fast paced game. It’s how I was taught how to hit,” he emphatically said. “I don’t have a reputation as a dirty hitter. I play the game hard and play it close to the edge but I try not to go over the edge.”
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