In a haunting moment, Chris Pronger left the ice immediately after getting caught with Mikhail Grabovski’s high stick tonight. The Philadelphia Flyers defenseman clearly screamed after the stick caught him somewhere in the face, which was especially scary considering how tough Pronger is.
Some might throw around the word “karma” around, but the rest of us will hope that Pronger didn’t take that stick to one of his eyes. Flyers fans were angry that Grabovski didn’t receive a penalty on the play, but it happened on the follow-through on a puck, which explains why there was no call.
The Flyers were magnets for errant Toronto Maple Leafs’ sticks in the first period. The game started with Claude Giroux receiving the business end of a stick while former Flyers player Joffrey Lupul received a double-minor for opening up Matt Read’s face with another high stick later on in the opening frame.
We’ll keep an eye on Pronger’s situation, which hopefully won’t end up being an eye injury. Update: TSN’s Bob McKenzie reports that Pronger is seeing an eye specialist, but no other details have emerged.
It might be tough to watch, but here’s footage of that gruesome moment. The Flyers haven’t given a concrete update about the situation, only stating that he won’t return to the game.
Most of the time, hockey players worry about the opposition leaving them injured. Yet considering the chaos and speed inherent to the game, it’s not that shocking that teammates accidentally hurt each other from time to time as well.
It happened at least twice tonight so far, as Chris Thorburn accidentally hit Atlanta Thrashers goalie Chris Mason and also in today’s early afternoon game, as Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara’s high stick broke the nose of teammate Steven Kampfer.
ESPN Boston’s Joe McDonald reports that although Pittsburgh Penguins forward Pascal Dupuis received a four-minute double-minor penalty during the play, it actually might have been big Chara’s stick that did the damage.
Kampfer is far from a marquee player for the Bruins, but he’s been a solid addition with four goals and two assists for six points in 18 games since being called up from the minors on December 8th.
Joshua Cooper reports that the NHL decided to suspend Nashville Predators defenseman Shane O’Brien two games for a high-sticking infraction on Florida Panthers center Stephen Weiss.
(You can find (grainy) video of the high-stick here.)
This means that the rugged defenseman won’t be able to appear in a home-and-home series against the Chicago Blackhawks this weekend. Considering O’Brien’s roots with the Vancouver Canucks – a hated rival of the Hawks – and the thin margin between Chicago and Nashville, this could be a tough loss for the Predators.
O’Brien scored two goals and five assists for seven points with a -8 rating and 41 penalty minutes in 43 games this season with Nashville.