Derick Brassard has been a top performer for the New York Rangers this postseason, centering the third line with wings Benoit Pouliot and Mats Zuccarello. It's been the Rangers' most consistent unit, with Brassard contributing seven points this postseason including four goals through 14 games.
That's why the fact that Brassard left Game 1 against the Montreal Canadiens just 35 seconds into his first shift is going to be cause for concern for the Rangers.
Brassard was leveled by Habs defenseman Mike Weaver with a heavy body check. The hit was by the book except for the little fact that Brassard had already released the puck about two full seconds earlier. That may not seem like a lot of time, but even two seconds is enough time for an NHL player to abort a hit.
Brassard also got caught watching his pass, which left him especially vulnerable for the hit. Nine times out of ten, that player is going to get crushed this time of year.
Video via ProHockeyTalk.com:
No penalty was called on the play.
This being the playoffs, that's not much of a surprise. Every check is supposed to be finished this time of year and the officials seem more than willing to let those checks be delivered even after a player has released the puck a few seconds prior. It's one of those things that might be called in the regular season, but this hit from Weaver is probably somewhere on the borderline, so it could go either way.
I don't think it will receive much extra attention from the NHL's Department of Player Safety. It probably gets looked at since it resulted in an injury, but it doesn't seem like a suspendable hit, especially not during the playoffs.
Brassard left the bench after receiving some considerable attention on his left shoulder from the Rangers' athletic trainer. After that, he went to the dressing room and did not return.
Dominic Moore filled the void left by Brassard, centering his normal line and assisting on the first two goals of the game.
The Rangers do have some young guys they could insert into the lineup to help fill the void like J.T. Miller or Jesper Fast, but Brassard has been so good this postseason. He will be sorely missed if this turns out to be a long-term injury as it would break up the Rangers' most reliable line.