Jacob Trouba’s hit on Islanders winger Michael Dal Colle on Tuesday night was as bone-crushing as they come, but all within the rules, according to Rangers coach David Quinn.
Dal Colle had his head down to corral a pass just inside his own blue line early in the third period when Trouba came in and leveled him with a shoulder. Dal Colle’s face and chest bore the brunt of the hit and forced him to miss the rest of the Rangers’ 4-3 overtime win.
“I think it’s a hell of a hockey hit and it’s a clean hit,” Quinn said Wednesday. “If you watch what [Trouba] does, he actually pulls his shoulder in tight to his body. It literally is a textbook check. It’s unfortunate that maybe the head is a little bit impacted by it, but it’s a textbook check.”
Islanders coach Barry Trotz saw it differently after the game, calling it “a headshot’ upon initial glance. The league seemed to agree with Quinn, though, as Wednesday came and went without any discipline handed out to Trouba.
Dal Colle, meanwhile, was termed day-to-day by the Islanders, though he was set to make the trip to St. Louis with the team, Trotz told reporters.
Trouba’s huge hit was only part of what had Quinn gushing about his play, saying it might have been his best game as a Ranger. It was also Trouba’s first without Brady Skjei, his childhood friend and former partner on the blue line before Skjei was traded to the Hurricanes on Monday.
“I actually called Troubs the night of the trade and talked a little bit about the impact,” Quinn said. “Obviously Troubs is affected by it personally, but wasn’t affected by it professionally [Tuesday] night.”
Trouba, who turned 26 Wednesday, is now partnered with Brendan Smith.
Pavel Buchnevich practiced Wednesday for the first time since he and goalie Igor Shesterkin were involved in a car crash Sunday night in Brooklyn. While Shesterkin sustained a non-displaced rib fracture, Buchnevich was mostly just shaken up and missed Tuesday’s game because of it.
Buchnevich’s status for Thursday’s game against the Canadiens was to be determined, but he made the trip with the team.
“I think the shock of what happened is starting to wear off,” Quinn said. “He’s certainly back to [himself] today.”
Coming off a 42-save performance against the Islanders, Alexandar Georgiev will be back in net Thursday. Quinn had been riding Shesterkin before he was injured, but declined to say whether he would do the same with Georgiev or give Henrik Lundqvist an occasional start, like in the second half of the back-to-back Friday against the Flyers.
“It’s game-to-game,” Quinn said, “especially with this many games in a short period of time.”
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