In the wake of the news that Brandon Prust would only be suspended two games for a very late hit on Derek Stepan that the NHL actually deemed wasn't a headshot despite it breaking Stepan's jaw I found myself on google. I wanted to find a video of the hit to add to a story about how the hit shouldn't alter this series, how the Rangers actually play better when something like this happens and how I hoped this incident would give the Rangers the extra push they needed to end things before Prust was allowd back in the playoffs.
And then I accidentally jumped down a bit of a rabbit hole.
While searching Google to see what people were saying about the hit, I stumbled across an old story in the New York Times, written back in April of 2000. Stephane Quintal -- now the head of the NHL Department Of Player Safety -- was the subject. The title? "Hockey; Rangers, Out of the Playoffs, Suspend Disgruntled Quintal." The link to the article is here.
Intrigued, I dug a little deeper in the story (the closest to investigative journalism I will get to in my life) and came across this little excerpt:
Checketts, scheduled to join the Rangers in Washington on Monday, suspended Quintal on the advice of the assistant general manager, Don Maloney. In an interview with the French-language daily La Presse of Montreal earlier this week, Quintal said he erred in signing with the Rangers last summer and wanted to return to Montreal.
''My heart is in Montreal,'' Quintal was quoted as saying.
Quintal, 31, is from Boucherville, Quebec. He played with the Canadiens the last four seasons before signing a four-year, $11.4 million contract with the Rangers.
''All I know is he doesn't want to be a Ranger,'' John Tortorella, the interim coach of the Rangers, said before making his National Hockey League coaching debut today. ''What Mr. Checketts did is right. He sent him home.''
I found it more than a little interesting that the man at the top of this decision-making tree spent seven years as a Montreal Canadien, and was so disgruntled during his time with the Rangers he actually told the press he wished he stayed in Montreal and was eventually suspended.
Look, I'm not going to sit here, throw on a tin-foil hat and scream conspiracy. The reality is the NHL has gotten these headshot decisions wrong time and time again. This most recent decision on Prust isn't the exception it's the norm. I'm also not sitting here telling you that this had any impact on the decision at all. I'm simply showing you something I found on the Internet that I found interesting.
This is a story that's over 14 years old, but there are undertones here that are somewhat concerning. Especially when dealing with an incident like this, involving those two teams. It's probably nothing, but I thought it was worth your time.