The Florida Panthers only sent two players to the Olympics and they might have lost both of them.
Finland’s Aleksander Barkov is out for the rest of the Olympics with a lower-body injury and Slovakia’s Tomas Kopecky sustained a possible head injury after absorbing a hard hit from Slovenian defenseman Sabahudin Kovacevic during Saturday’s game.
Kopecky was caught in a vulnerable position when Slovenia’s Ales Kranjc charged into him from behind as Kovacevic struck him in the head with his arm or elbow. The 32-year-old Panthers forward was knocked to the ice by the blow. He slowly got back on his feet only to nearly topple over again. While skating back to the bench, he collapsed to his hands and knees before getting back up and slowly completing the trek.
Kovacevic will have a hearing on Sunday as a result of his actions, according to Sportsnet’s John Shannon.
This is the sort of incident that NHL owners and general managers fear will happen when their players go to play in the Olympics. That being said, the Panthers are still waiting for a medical update, so the extent of Kopecky’s injury isn’t clear, reported TSN’s Bob McKenzie.