Jacob Trouba says he exchanged text messages with Jujhar Khaira after the Chicago Blackhawks forward went to hospital in the aftermath of a hard hit by the New York Rangers defenceman on Tuesday night.
"Obviously very scary and unfortunate. I exchanged text messages with him after and checked in. He tells me he’s doing okay so that’s good to see," Trouba said Wednesday night after the Rangers lost 7-3 to the Colorado Avalanche. "Obviously, no one wants to see that and no one plays the game to see guys get injured or injure guys. It was very unfortunate. It’s a tough situation for everyone and I hope he recovers fast."
Khaira was stretchered off the ice after the hit. He was released from hospital on Wednesday and later entered concussion protocol while being placed on injured reserve.
The Blackhawks have said they expect a full recovery.
Trouba was not penalized on the play. He said he felt it was a clean hit.
"I don’t think it was malicious. I don’t think I jumped -- stayed on my feet tried to tuck my shoulder in and put it in the chest. That’s how I was taught how to hit, that’s the cleanest way I know how to hit. That’s what I try to do. I don’t think I have a reputation as a dirty hitter. I play the game hard, I play pretty close to the edge but I try not to go over the edge."
The hit occurred midway through the second period, with the Blackhawks trying to skate the puck out of their own zone. Khaira was attempting to receive a pass just before the blue line when Trouba connected with him on a hard hit, shoulder to chest, that knocked Khaira down, at which point his head appeared to hit the ice.
Khaira stayed down and motionless for several minutes. A brief scrum ensued between the Rangers and Blackhawks in the immediate aftermath of the hit, while medical personnel rushed to Khaira, but dispersed shortly after.
On Wednesday, Trouba again delivered another big hit, sending Avalanche star Nathan MacKinnon to the locker room in the second period. MacKinnon returned for the third.
The hit, shoulder to chest, came as MacKinnon tried to gain full control of the puck in the Rangers' zone. There was no penalty on the play.
MacKinnon was slow to get up and that prompted a fight between Colorado's Gabriel Landeskog and Trouba.
On Tuesday, Trouba fought Riley Stillman several minutes after his hit on Khaira.
Trouba was asked what he felt about opposing players wanting to fight him after big hits.
“I don’t have an issue with it," he said. "Do I think you have to defend yourself if the hit’s deemed clean? No. Do I have a problem standing up for myself if someone wants to stand up for their teammate. No, I also don’t have an issue with that. It is what it is."
Editor's note: The following video shows the hit Khaira received, followed by him being taken off the ice by stretcher. Though efforts were made to remove footage of him immediately following the hit, it may still be distressing for some viewers. Please exercise discretion before watching.