Colorado Avalanche goalie Darcy Kuemper left Game 3 against the Nashville Predators after a stick caught him up high, catching him in a small opening in his goalie mask.
It’s unclear where, exactly an errant stick caught Kuemper’s face. The most immediate concern is if it made contact with Kuemper’s eye. In a scary scene, Kuemper spent some time on the ice, then left for the locker room clutching his face.
The Avalanche eventually announced that Darcy Kuemper would not return to Game 3. That part’s almost assumed. Generally, early updates are promising; The Athletic’s Peter Baugh reports that Kuemper didn’t suffer a concussion and that it might not be a long-term injury. After the Avalanche’s 7-3 win, Jared Bednar provided even more optimism. Kuemper may even have a chance to play as soon as Game 4?
COL coach Jared Bednar said Darcy Kuemper has "some swelling" around the eye, but it is not too serious. It is possible the goalie plays Monday in Game 4.
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) May 7, 2022
Pavel Francouz replaced Kuemper as the Avalanche’s current goalie.
Darcy Kuemper was forced to leave the ice after Ryan Johansen's stick accidentally got through his mask and into the right eye area.
Pavel Francouz has come on in Kuemper's place. pic.twitter.com/9dIBwaYLMY
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) May 7, 2022
Disturbingly, Darcy Kuemper’s suffered the misfortune of taking a stick up high (evading at least some of his mask protection) before. That happened to him as a member of the Coyotes back in 2019:
Kuemper leaves game under his own power, but this was not a good thing to see. pic.twitter.com/K6iZkJBv2a
— Bally Sports Arizona (@BALLYSPORTSAZ) April 3, 2019
Francouz is no stranger to recent injury issues, either. He missed the entirety of last season for injury reasons.
This continues a downright baffling run of playoff goalie injuries. The Penguins and Hurricanes both suffered multiple goalie injuries, and the Predators entered the playoffs without Juuse Saros.