By Allan Muir
Things just got bad for Brandon Prust. And worse for the New York Rangers.
New York coach Alain Vigneault says center Derek Stepan required surgery to repair a broken jaw suffered as a result of the high hit delivered last night by the Canadiens' rugged forward.
"Step, right now at this time is probably getting operated on. He broke his jaw yesterday," Vigneault said on Friday afternoon. "We'll have an idea of the time frame tomorrow. That's stuff that happens in a game that you have to deal with and that's what we're trying to do."
Prust was not penalized on the play, but he wound up with a two-game suspension for interference.
Stepan returned to action minutes after leaving the ice to receive treatment and clocked in with a couple of feisty shifts, but he now looks questionable at best for Game 4 on Sunday night at Madison Square Garden.
That's not the only question that remains to be answered. How did New York's team doctors not diagnose this injury last night when Stepan was first examined? He was seen rubbing his jaw as he left the ice, so his discomfort in that area should have alerted physicians to the possibility of a problem. Did they simply focus on concussion protocols and overlook a possible jaw injury? Did they let the player dictate his assessment/treatment? Either way, this looks like an inexcusable failure on their part that possibly exacerbated the injury. Expect to hear more on this in the coming days.