The beauty about hockey – particularly as the stakes rise in the playoffs – is that just about every player is tough. It’s not just enforcers or defensive defensemen who remind us why we watch on TV while they play for puck-related glory. Big-money stars shake off ghastly injuries for two reasons: 1) they’re tough as well and 2) it’s simply expected of them.
Even though we’ve seen moments like these time and time again, they never fail to amaze hockey fans. Tampa Bay Lightning star Steven Stamkos took a Johnny Boychuk slapper to the face, which “shattered his nose” according to the Versus telecast. Cameras caught him making his way to the locker room with serious haste while clutching his nose, leaving some to wonder if the Lightning would play a huge game without a big star.
It seemed like he barely missed more than a shift or two, instead. Stamkos came back into action with a full face shield and a gnarly wound on his nose (which you can see from this post’s main image via a screenshot from Chemmy of Pension Plan Puppets).
You can watch footage of Stamkos taking that shot to face in the video below. As I joked on Twitter, Stamkos went from having a face suited for a villain’s role in ’80s teen comedies to a mug that wouldn’t be out of place in a gangster movie. He might be a little less pretty after tonight’s game, but in return, he gained the respect of almost any reasonable hockey fan.
One final thought: thank goodness that he was wearing a visor.