Jacob Trouba ready to be Public Enemy 1 for Rangers in Pittsburgh

jacob trouba
May 11, 2022; New York, New York, USA; New York Rangers defenseman Jacob Trouba (8) checks Pittsburgh Penguins center Evan Rodrigues (9) during the first period in game five of the first round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports

You can bet that well before the puck drops on Game 6 Friday night, the City of Pittsburgh will be unified on hating New York Rangers defenseman Jacob Trouba.

“It’s okay, it won’t be the first time,” he joked after practice on Thursday

The 28 year-old hard-hitting blue-liner has drawn the ire of the Pittsburgh Penguins and their fans after a hit, scratch that– a collision involving Sidney Crosby.

“It was a play in the slot and obviously the great player that Sid is he does a lot of spinning away from guys,” coach Gerard Gallant recalled. “Trouba went to go play the puck and his elbow got a little high. But there was no intent and he wasn’t trying to hurt him.”

Penguins coach Mike Sullivan on the other hand was pretty angry after the game.

“Did you see the hit? Then you probably have the same opinion I do,” he said.

Apparently the NHL’s Department of Player Safety did not agree with Sullivan and saw it more along the lines of how Gallant viewed the contact.

No disciplinary hearing was deemed necessary.

Jacob Trouba ready to be Public Enemy No. 1

new york rangers
Apr 29, 2022; New York, New York, USA; New York Rangers defenseman Jacob Trouba (8) celebrates a 3-2 win against the Washington Capitals at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

During last night’s 5-3 Rangers win over the Penguins to stay alive in Game 5, Trouba and Crosby made incidental contact on a loose puck.

The two came together late in the second period when Crosby had his head down and Trouba tried to make a stick play on the puck. Both players collided and Trouba’s arm came up a little high. Crosby was shaken up and left the game. No penalty was called on the play.

“At the time I didn’t know that was the play he got injured on,” Trouba admitted. “I tried going stick on puck and my stick in between his legs hitting his thigh pushing my arm up. It was a fluky play and not a massively hard contact.”

Watching the play at full speed, it looks like Trouba was looking to take out Crosby. With the benefit of slow motion replay it’s clear that he was attempting to stick check the puck away before the collision.

“You never want to see a guy get hurt,” he added. “I don’t know what the injury is but hopefully he’s better soon.”

The Penguins said Crosby is being evaluated but called up forward Radim Zohorna earlier today just in case he can’t go.

Taking the heat off Igor Shesterkin

One thing is for sure, Trouba will have all the attention of Penguins fans every time he hits the ice.

That will take a tremendous amount of pressure off goalie Igor Shesterkin, who has been the focal point of derisive chants in Games 3 and 4. And despite the Rangers saying he hasn’t lost any confidence, he clearly looked rattled to me.

In last night’s crucial Game 5, he allowed another bank goal off his pad and coughed up a puck that led to the late tying goal in the second period. It wasn’t until the third period that Igor looked like himself again stopping all 15 Penguins shots fired his way.

If the Rangers can get an early lead and the PPG Paints Arena is incessantly booing Jacob Trouba, Shesterkin could post a performance that’s earned him Vezina and Hart Trophy consideration.

Because that’s what it will take to bring this series back to the Garden for Game 7 on Sunday.

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