Originally written on The Rangers Tribune  |  Last updated 5/20/12

CALGARY, CANADA - SEPTEMBER 15: Brandon Prust #33 of the Calgary Flames gets a hand in the face during a fight with Zack Stortini #46 of the Edmonton Oilers in the first period of the pre-season NHL game on September 15, 2009 at the Pengrowth Saddledome in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Mike Ridewood/Getty Images)

The National Hockey League has elected to suspend New York Rangers forward Brandon Prust for one game in response to his reckless elbow to the head of New Jersey Devils defenseman Anton Volchenkov in Game 3. Prust, who has never received a prior suspension in his career, will now be unavailable for Game 4 at the Prudential Center on Monday night. 

Prust went on record several times since the hit, explaining that there was no malicious intent on the play and that it was more of a reactionary impulse than anything. However, the NHL's rules are working towards eliminating any sort of hit above the shoulders, or at least they claim to, so the suspension was warranted and does not come as a surprise. 

Head coach John Tortorella now has an important spot in the bottom six of his offensive lineup to fill and he has plenty of options with the current AHL taxi squad up with the team, in addition to Stu Bickel and Mats Zuccarello. While the coach likely will not reveal his decision until gametime tomorrow night, Zuccarello does seem to be the stand-out option considering his quickness and offensive ability. He hasn't put on the jersey since late March when he suffered a wrist injury, but from what's been reported, he's ready to go if need be. 

This just may be his perfect opportunity to squeak in and grab a permanent spot in the lineup. Obviously Zuke would not replace Prust, who will return in Game 5, but maybe he could oust a John Mitchell or a Mike Rupp moving forward. 

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