Blackhawks’ Athanasiou calls out Trouba for trying to hurt players: ‘That’s his game’

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Chicago centre Andreas Athanasiou is calling out Jacob Trouba after the New York captain hit him during the Rangers’ 5-2 loss to the Blackhawks on Saturday.

“That guy is known for hitting high,” Athanasiou said, according to Ben Pope of the Chicago Sun-Times. “Not really worrying about the puck out there and almost trying to hurt people. 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.”

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Trouba didn’t receive a suspension or even a penalty for the hit, although he did leave his feet in the process. The defenceman has a history of dangerous hits, including one on Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby last playoffs.

Trouba, who was named captain for the Blue Shirts over the summer, has endured some growing pains in his new leadership role. His team, fresh off a Conference Final appearance and hoping to take the next step, is just 11-10-5 on the season, and 1-4-1 in their last six.

Whether it’s the grimacing post-game interviews or the attempts to motivate his teammates with his physicality, Trouba’s frustration has been evident.

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Trouba has had three fights in his last two games, along with some big hits as he’s rallied to energize the listless Rangers.

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“The puck was there,” Athanasiou said. “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.”

Trouba has been suspended once in his NHL career, for a high hit on Mark Stone in 2017.

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