New York Rangers captain Jacob Trouba has made himself public enemy #1 in Chicago and it would seem that he has ruffled more than a few feathers in the process.
Over the weekend, Chicago Blackhawks forward Andreas Athanasiou publicly called out the Rangers captain after he was on the wrong end of a huge open ice hit from the aforementioned Jacob Trouba. Athanasiou called out Trouba not only for the way he conducts himself on the ice, but also mocked him for his lack of production and the large cap hit that he carries.
“That guy is known for hitting high, not really worrying about the puck out there and almost trying to hurt people,” said Athanasiou as per Blackhawks insider Ben Pope. “That’s his game; that’s what he does. He’s an $8 million man with zero goals, so he has to figure out how to do something when making that much. If you can’t help the team, I guess you try to hurt guys on the other team.”
Athanasiou would go a step further though and would call into question whether or not Trouba was intentionally trying to hurt him.
“It was a weird play,” Athanasiou said. “The puck was there. He could’ve made a play on the puck. Instead it’s like [he had] an intent to try to hurt somebody. He’s been known to do that. You have to know when he’s on the ice, and he got me there.”
As mentioned, it is almost certainly not a coincidence that Athanasiou is now making these comments just one day after he took a big hit from the Rangers captain. Here's a look at the hit:
That being said, Trouba has a bit of history when it comes to taking out players on the Blackhawks roster with the memory of the monster hit he delivered to Blackhawks forward Jujhar Khaira last season no doubt still fresh in the minds of many of their players.
These two teams will clash again before Christmas, with the Blackhawks welcoming the Rangers to the United Center on the 18th of December and it is a game that both these teams will no doubt have circled on their respective calendars.