Jacob Trouba said it was "obviously very scary," to see the result of his hit on Chicago’s Jujhar Khaira on Tuesday night, which sent Khaira to the hospital after he was removed from the ice on a stretcher during the Rangers’ 6-2 victory.
But the Rangers defenseman defended what appeared to be a clean hit on Khaira, who was released from the hospital on Wednesday.
"It’s a fast-paced game," Trouba said after Wednesday’s 7-3 loss to the Avalanche.
"It’s easy to slow it down and let your brain think while it’s going half-speed. But I’m in the middle of a game. I don’t think it was malicious. I don’t think I jumped. I stayed on my feet.
"I tucked up my shoulder and put it in the chest, and that’s how I was taught to hit . . . I don’t think I have a reputation as a dirty hitter. I play the game hard. I play it pretty close to the edge, but I try not to go over the edge."
Trouba said he exchanged text messages with Khaira after the incident.
"He told me he was doing OK, so that’s good to see," Trouba said.
"But obviously no one wants to see that. No one plays the game to injure guys. That’s very unfortunate. It’s a tough situation for everyone. I hope he recovers fast."
Trouba got in another good but clean lick on Avalanche star Nathan MacKinnon Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden. It led to more bad blood, with Trouba in the middle of things. He got into a fight with Gabriel Landeskog.
"Do I think you have to defend yourself if the hit’s deemed clean? No," Trouba said. "Do I have problem standing up for myself if someone wants to stand up for a teammate? No."