Mark Staal took a puck to the face in the sort of vicious, injurious hockey stuff fans have grown used to seeing, but the bloody incident has crossed over into general sports news due to the severity of the blow — even for NHL mishaps.
Mark Staal of the Rangers caught the puck to the face during the New York Rangers’ game against the Philadelphia Flyers Tuesday night. It was nearly six minutes into the third period when it happened, knocking Staal out of the rest of the game — during which the Rangers won 4-2.
ESPN reports Staal was “hit in the right eye by a tipped puck at the 5:45 mark of the third period, and that the player “spent several minutes face-down and bleeding before he skated off on his own to the trainer’s room.”
What happened next has not yet been reported upon, and the Rangers did not confirm whether Staal had been treated after the puck to the face injury.
Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist said after watching teammate Staal take a puck to the face that he found it difficult to concentrate on the balance of the game, and that his friend’s suffering was hard to watch:
“That was scary … He was in a lot of pain. It was tough to focus after that.”
Fellow Ranger Dan Girardi also partially witnessed Staal’s puck to the face, and said he hadn’t heard any follow-up about his teammate’s condition after the injury:
“I heard the shot and I heard him. It’s a scary play to see … A guy that’s in a lot of pain and that’s a big part of our team. I think he’s OK [but] I haven’t heard much. I’m going to check on him and hopefully he’s OK.”
Ryan Callahan added:
“When it’s that close to his eye, there’s no way to really prevent that. It’s off a stick and into his face … You could feel that really take the life out of the bench a little bit, out of the whole crowd. It was a scary moment. I haven’t seen him yet, but hopefully he’s OK.”
In the meantime, Deadspin has a clip of “every angle” of Mark Staal’s puck to the face.