May 22, 2014; New York, NY, USA; New York Rangers center Derek Stepan (21) is checked on by a trainer after being knocked to the ice by the Montreal Canadiens during the first period in game three of the Eastern Conference Final of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

Stanley Cup playoffs: Rangers’ Derek Stepan plays 4 days after jaw surgery


New York Rangers’ Derek Stepan is one tough guy, of course knowing he is a hockey player that might not come as much of a surprise. After taking a late hit by Brandon Prust in Game 3 last Thursday, Stepan broke his jaw and the injury required a plate.

Despite all that, Stepan practiced and could be playing with the injury. He was pictured in practice with a special facemask to protect his jaw.

Coach Alain Vigneault was quick to cool off all that talk, saying it’d be up to the medical staff to decide.

“The only way he’s going to play tonight is if he gets full medical clearance,” Vigneault said, via the New York Times. “That’s not going to be up to him. It’s going to be up to our medical staff to make sure that they feel he can play.”

The Rangers defenseman might need to be cautious with outlet passes to avoid putting him in a vulnerable position, but defenseman Ryan McDonagh said they can’t think like that.

“You can’t think like that,” McDonagh said, via the New York Daily News. “You’ve got to play the same way. Obviously you don’t want to set anyone up to get hit just for the fact that you’re putting him in danger, but also (because you don’t want to) turn the puck over. It’s all about making good decisions with the puck,. We’ll see what happens. I don’t know if he’ll be in, but if he is, we’re expecting him to play the same way: Take hits, give hits. That’s the way we have to play.”

So does this become the hockey equivalent of the flu game?

Tags: New York Rangers