The only thing worse than hit-sticking your most talented teammate is injuring yourself in the process.
Washington Capitals defenseman Jack Hillen ended up on the wrong end of a scary, teammate-on-teammate collision on Tuesday night.
Hillen slammed headfirst into Ovechkin’s chest, and both men tumbled to the ice in pain.
It was a bizarre, frightening scene for fans at the Verizon Center as Hillen laid on the ice for a minute after the hit.
He eventually made his way off the ice and was examined by medical staff.
The extent of Hillen’s injuries is unclear at this point, but Stubits writes that he could have suffered a concussion—an unfortunate situation for the Caps if true:
It's always a bit dangerous to guess but it sure looked like Hillen could be dealing with a concussion after that shot and considering the Capitals' biggest issue right now is on the blue line, that would be pretty bad news.
Caps fans would likely be surprised if Hillen didn’t have a concussion after running into the flying wall of man that is Alexander Ovechkin.
If there’s any teammate Hillen doesn’t want to collide with, its Ovi. The NHL's leading goal scorer is 6’3”, 230 pounds. Compare that to Hillen’s 5’10”, 200-pound frame, and it’s a small miracle the Caps defenseman was able to skate away from the hit.
As for Ovechkin, the Capitals forward continued playing after the collision. According to Mike Brehm of USA Today, running into Hillen knocked the wind out of him.
“I lost my breathing,” Ovechkin said after the game. “I didn’t see him…I just turned and he came to me. There was nothing I could do.”
Unfortunately for Caps fans, a winded Ovechkin couldn’t stop the Kings from winning the game, 5-4, in a shootout.
Hockey is a contact sport; accidents happen and we can only be glad that no one appears to have been seriously injured. But Ovechkin and company will no doubt be keeping their head on a swivel going forward.
With both Hillen and Nicklas Backstrom (back injury) potentially sitting out games, the Capitals can’t afford to lose anyone else. Unfortunately, Washington won't get a chance for redemption against the Kings, but look for it to be on the offensive as the season winds down.
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