Sportress of Blogitude

Maybe They Should Change What ‘NHL’ Stands For To ‘Nearly Handicapped League’

Red Wings Canucks Hockey

Vancouver Canucks center Ryan Johnson was carried off the ice on a backboard and taken to the hospital after he appeared to lose his balance after chipping the puck into the offensive zone. When attempting to maneuver around Red Wings defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom, Johnson fell and then crashed violently head-first into the boards and looked to be knocked out cold. Initial reports out of Vancouver are that Johnson is okay and was alert and was capable of full movement.

“So far, I think everything looks good,” [Vancouver head coach Alain]Vigneault said. “He had X-rays and a CT scan and we’re waiting for results, but initial outlook is that everything seems to be fine.”

Video after the jump.

Holy moly, that was awful. Johnson’s teammate, Shane O’Brien, said after the game that it was the  “[s]cariest thing I’ve seen,” and spoke well of Johnson, adding, “[h]e’s such a great guy and a guy who plays his guts out every night, blocks shots and goes to the dirty areas and is one of our character guys. We got some good news and hopefully he is going to be all right because he’s a huge part of our team.”

Teammate Ryan Kelser added:

“We were told in between periods that he is going to be OK. You hate to see a friend and a teammate go down like that. It really puts things in perspective. It is an extremely fast game out there. We’re just glad he is going to be all right.”

johnson_ryan_down

Of course, given that this is the second occasion where a player had to be carried off the ice on a backboard in a few days (Carolina Hurricanes player Darcy Tucker being the first), in the coming days, we will probably see some hand-wringing about the violent nature of the sport and what the league can do to legislate this sort of stuff out of the game, despite the fact that these two incidents have little-to-nothing in common except the fact that an injury occurred. In this instance, there is nothing the NHL could have done to prevent such an unfortunate accident from occurring – there was no malicious intent to injure by Lidstrom and it wasn’t an occasion where one could make the argument that no-touch icing needs to be instituted by the league. It’s simply part of the game – players are going to get hurt.

Let’s just be thankful that Johnson, a veteran playing in his 14th NHL season, is going to be okay. That is what’s most important.

Canucks go down 5-4 to Detroit Red Wings [Vancouver Sun]
Red Wings rally to sink Canucks [CBC Sports]