When people see a hard knee-to-knee collision, the general reaction is to a) wince at the possibility for something serious and b) debate the dirtiness of said check, if you’re into that sort of discussion.
New Jersey Devils fans must have grimaced last night, as Taylor Hall had a real scare in a collision with Kurtis MacDermid of the Los Angeles Kings, which you can witness in the video above this post’s headline.
There may have been extra grunts as this was arguably garbage time in the game, as the Devils were up 4-0 in a game they would eventually win 5-1, and Hall put on a show, including scoring this goal:
Well, Hall and the Devils didn’t go totally unscathed, but most N.J. fans will breathe sighs of relief at today’s update. Head coach John Hynes labels Hall day-to-day, with Thursday’s game at Montreal being ruled out, but there’s no structural damage to the prolific forward’s knee. The injury is considered a contusion.
So, a mostly dodged bullet there, and while the Devils are a little damaged, the injury news is generally heartening.
Like Hall, Kyle Palmieri has been ruled out for Thursday’s contest against the Habs. The Bergen Record’s Andrew Gross reports that Palmieri is in a walking boot and will probably miss a week of action. With Marcus Johansson also a little banged-up, the Devils must show some resiliency, yet the bounces go their way to some extent even here, as other teams are missing key players for longer spans of time.
This injury update seems like a worthwhile excuse to exalt Hall’s fantastic 2017-18 season, so let’s take a quick look at how special he’s been.
Hall of a time
The 26-year-old (yes, he’s still that young, and his birthday came on Nov. 14) had a perfectly fine first season with New Jersey, scoring 20 goals and 53 points in 72 games. It was the third straight season in which Hall scored on fewer than 10 percent of his shots on goal, connecting on 8.4 percent. He was an impressive possession factor, as he’s been for much of his career.
In 2017-18, he’s producing some of the best work of his woefully underrated career.
Hall has 11 goals and 20 assists for 31 points in 30 contests, leading the Devils by 11 points. With a 1.03 points-per-game average, he’s on one of the best paces of his career, and if this knee issue is truly minor, he could set some career-highs. Sadly, inopportune injuries have been almost as much of an unfortunate theme for Hall as has been “lottery luck.”
Officially adding "NHL lottery ball specialist" to my hockey resume.
It will be tough for Hall to top his best-ever work in 2013-14, when he scored 27 goals and 80 points in 75 contests, but perhaps he’ll finish closer to 80 GP and match at least one of those marks?
Of course, Hall likely values a possible first playoff run more than any individual milestones.
You hear that sort of talk quite frequently with players, yet that cliche is virtually guaranteed to be the honest truth for Hall. If anyone deserves the sort of bounces that have been going the Devils’ way so far this season, it’s this long-suffering left winger.
So here’s hoping that his knee issue really is minor, and he can get back to reminding observers that he’s one of the best wingers in the NHL.
Every now and then, a game just sort of leaves you bleary eyed and confused, like you just watched an intense movie with an insane twist ending.
In the case of the Los Angeles Kings’ 4-3 OT win against the Anaheim Ducks, even M. Night Shyamalan would agree that these teams threw out an almost incomprehensible wave of swerves.
Mere hours after learning that captain Ryan Getzlaf will miss two months thanks to the unlucky bounce of a puck, the Ducks showed serious heart in taking on the red-hot Kings. They built leads of 2-0 and 3-1, but the Kings were just relentless in coming back.
This game seemed to have a bit of everything.
There was controversy in goal reviews, from a negated tally thanks to John Gibson‘s masked being knocked off to a clearer instance where a would-be Kings goal was ruled offside. Los Angeles just would not be denied, with shockingly rejuvenated forward Dustin Brown shaking off those near-goals in OT, ultimately setting up Nick Shore for the game-winner.
The game featured heaping portions of violence, with this medley being an appetizer that’s the size of a buffet:
Gibson isn’t the only injury situation to watch, as a low hit left Anze Kopitar shaken. The red-hot Kings star did manage to return to the game despite that event taking place in the third period, yet it’s still a situation to watch. We’ve seen players return from painful moments with the adrenaline firing, only to miss serious time once that passion levels out.
As the announce team mentioned, both teams will deploy ice packs thanks to this game (or extra ones, maybe one should say). The Ducks will also need to monitor Ondrej Kase because of this hit that got Kurtis MacDermid ejected, as another example:
Phew. Here’s a good rule of thumb for a wild game: if Jonathan Quick going after Corey Perry is a spicy subplot rather than the driving narrative, you’ve witnessed something zany.
All things considered, both teams deserved a standings point in this one. Tonight’s game is one of those rare moments in which the “loser point” feels more like an acknowledgment that no one should go home totally empty-handed.
Granted, the Ducks probably aren’t happy about squandering a lead to the hated Kings on the same day that they got bad injury news about Getzlaf, but they probably would admit that they worked hard in this one.
Now both teams’ medical staffs will need to work overtime, too.
Goalies really don’t like Corey Perry, and it’s not just because he scores so many goals.
Perry frequently walks the line between legal and dirty when he crashes the crease, and chances are, he’s done so against Los Angeles Kings netminder Jonathan Quick as much as anyone else, being that they’re local rivals with the Anaheim Ducks.
This is one of those nights when both the Ducks and Kings are ratcheting up the violence – as of this writing, Andy Andreoff just got into a fight, so the nastiness may only climb – and the guy in big, bulky pads got involved.
As you can see from the video above, Quick went after Perry during the second period of tonight’s game.
Things really might have gotten heated because of this hit by Kurtis MacDermid, though:
Here’s footage of Andreoff going after Jared Boll:
Just a lot going on, and very little of it can be described as sportsmanlike. Yes, it’s kinda great.