Philadelphia Flyers fans were stunned when goalie Michal Neuvirth suddenly collapsed on the ice as his teammates were preparing for a faceoff mid-rink. According to ESPN, the game was only about seven and a half minutes in when Neuvirth, who was standing alone in the goal, fell back in the goal unconscious.
Neuvirth’s Philadelphia teammates immediately took action, hopping from the Flyers bench to come to his aid. Flyers players and referees escorted Philadelphia’s trainer Jim McCrossin to Neuvirth’s side to assess the situation. Dramatic video shown from various angles show Michal’s collapse coming from no contact.
Scary moment in Philadelphia as Michal Neuvirth collapses in the crease. pic.twitter.com/KaH5wgHAQT
— Sons of Penn (@SonsofPenn) April 1, 2017
The Flyers get the trainer on the ice as quickly as possible after Michal Neuvirth collapses. pic.twitter.com/HmAssx81L2
— Cristiano Simonetta (@CMS_74_) April 1, 2017
Neuvirth laid on the ice for several minutes without movement. There was nothing out of character in his stance and there had been no physical contact with him to that point in the game. Eventually, Flyers fans could see Neuvirth moving his arms and legs. Michal was removed by stretcher and gave the thumbs up to Philadelphians as he was carted off.
According to the Washington Post, Flyers teammate Colin McDonald stated on television during the first intermission that Neuvirth had complained about not feeling well in the locker room prior to taking the ice.
“He wasn’t feeling that well in the locker room and we were worried about him,” McDonald, a winger for Philadelphia, said.
Michal Neuvirth is a 29-year-old goaltender from Czechoslovakia. He made his NHL debut in the 2008-2009 season with the Washington Capitals. Neuvirth also spent time with the Buffalo Sabers and New York Islanders before moving to the Flyers in 2015.
According to Sports Illustrated, Flyers GM Ron Hextall was thrilled when Neuvirth made the transition to Philadelphia. By all accounts, Michal exceeded expectations with his level of play that season but his stats took a bit of a tumble this season. Still, Michal was thrilled to make Philadelphia his new home and was working hard to become an elite caliber goalie and hoping to earn the starting spot.
“I was working on my hands a lot and on my reactions, and so far I feel like I’m seeing the puck better than I’m used to,” Neuvirth said after he made the move to the Flyers. “My goal is to be a No. 1 and I got to earn the respect. Every opportunity I get, I got to play good, so I earn more ice time.”
Today’s Flyers game against the New Jersey Devils marked Michal Neuvirth’s 28th game of the season. Neuvirth hadn’t played since March 25 but reportedly had become the go-to goalie for the Flyers this season. According to Fansided, Flyers coach Dave Hakstol had been placing Neuvirth in the net recently for critical games, rather than Steven Mason the veteran, leaving some to wonder if Michal was going to be the new starter.
In today’s game, Mason was out with an illness, so the goaltending drama wasn’t an issue for the Flyers — that is until Michal Neuvirth unexpectedly collapsed. Thankfully Philadelphia had called up Anthony Stolarz from the minors as a back up. Stolarz took the ice and posted a shutout with the Flyers winning 3-0 over the Devils.
The win over New Jersey was critical as the odds of Philadelphia making the playoffs is slim. Still, until they are mathematically eliminated, the Flyers fans cling to hope especially considering they were able to pull off a wild card spot last season.
[Featured image by Tom Mihalek/AP Images.]