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Penguins' Staal won't be suspended for punch

Wednesday, 02.02.2011 / 1:04 PM / News

By Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

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Penguins' Staal won't be suspended for punch
Penguins' Staal won't be suspended for punch
NEW YORK -- The National Hockey League will not take further action on Penguins center Jordan Staal for his punch to Rangers' forward Brandon Prust's face in the second period of Tuesday's game. Staal received a match penalty and by rule he was automatically suspended until the League reviewed the incident and the Commissioner made a ruling.

"We have reviewed the play and have communicated to (Penguins GM) Ray Shero that Jordan Staal is available to play tonight," NHL Senior Executive Vice President of Hockey Operations Colin Campbell said.

The Penguins host the New York Islanders tonight.

Staal hit Prust with his left fist and sent him spinning to the ice at the end of a scrum in front of the Rangers' bench. The officials first sent Staal to the box and then sent him to the dressing rooms with the five-minute match penalty.

Prust cleared out Tyler Kennedy with a hard hit and then he got his elbow up on Staal, who appeared to be coming into the fray to defend Kennedy. Staal returned the favor on Prust, dropping him to the ice with a quick left hook.

Ryan Callahan scored the game-tying power-play goal with 12.5 seconds left in the second period.

"I think it was just all reaction. I came in and hit a guy, he kind of came in to stick up for him. He just threw a punch and happened to connect." -- Brandon Prust

Staal was not made available to the media following the Penguins' 4-3 shootout victory. Bylsma expressed his displeasure with the match penalty.

"I wasn't particularly fond of the call," he said. "It certainly was a scrum and both guys were taking their shots and I'm not sure the penalty was warranted."

Prust admitted he was dazed by the punch.

"He just caught me on my sweet spot and kind of dropped me for a second," Prust said. "He kind of rung my bell."

Prust didn't play for the rest of the second period, but he returned in the third.

"They checked me out. I'm good," he said. "I think it was just all reaction. I came in and hit a guy, he kind of came in to stick up for him. He just threw a punch and happened to connect."

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl
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