The NHL preseason is a place where impressions are made and sometimes it goes too far.
With just a handful of minutes remaining in the penultimate exhibition game for the Edmonton Oilers against the Vancouver Canucks, winger Zack Kassian engaged in a fight with Zack MacEwen that ended in terrifying fashion.
In a bout that is somewhat of a regular occurrence between these two clubs, the Oilers forward lost his balance and fell onto the ice head-first as MacEwen blindly unloaded punches.
The 30-year-old’s helmet was unfortunately already knocked off by a blow from MacEwen. Kassian needed assistance off the ice after laying motionless for a few moments.
There was no official update on the extent of his potential injury, but Edmonton head coach Dave Tippett was able to provide a little bit of relief.
“Lucky, it seems he’s alright in there. …He’s got a pretty good bump on his head from hitting the ice but he was in good spirits and was telling jokes when I came and saw him after the game,” Tippett said after the game. “It’s one of those ones that upsets you when that happens. …We’ll see where he is tomorrow.”
Some other members of the Oilers were not so upbeat about the on-ice incident.
“It was really tough. I’m a new face around here, but Kass and I have bonded — he’s like my brother sitting next to me in the locker room,” forward Derek Ryan said after the game. “To see him sitting like that on the ice, yeah, it makes me sick to my stomach. I haven’t seen him in the locker room but it sounds like he’s doing alright.”
When the danger of playing professional hockey rears its ugly head, it really doesn’t matter what side of the ice you’re on.
“It’s scary, it’s terrible, it’s not cool,” Canucks star defenseman Quinn Hughes said after the game. “It probably didn’t need to happen.”
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