Not even a puck to the face can stop Wayne Simmonds
Sports are chalk full of clichés.
In professional hockey, the most famous cliché is probably that of toughness. No matter how bad the injury, it seems as though nothing can keep a hockey player off the ice.
Not even a puck to the face.
During Saturday afternoon’s game between the Philadelphia Flyers and Ottawa Senators, that is exactly what happened to Flyers gritty forward, Wayne Simmonds.
With the team trailing the Senators 3-0 in the early stages of the second period, Simmonds battled his way to the net like he always does.
This time however, he was met by more than just a giant defensemen trying to keep him out of place; he was also met by a snapshot from teammate Brayden Schenn, which hit Simmonds on the bridge of his nose.
“No. Well, I saw it coming but there’s not much I could really do,” Simmonds said of the shot. “Just trying to take the shot and it got deflected off.”
While Simmonds earned himself a nice set of stitches, amazingly, he was also rewarded with a goal (his 26th of the season, a total that has demolished his previous career high of 16 in a single season) as the puck went into the net after hitting him.
At first glance, it appeared as though Schenn had skated through the Ottawa defense with an impressive display of stick handling, then ripped a shot that was too fast for goaltender Craig Anderson to handle.
With every one celebrating the tally, Simmonds was writhing on the ice in a noticeable amount of pain.
Upon reviewing the replay, it was blatantly obvious that the puck had deflected off Simmonds’ face and into the net.
"That was pretty scary,” Braydon Coburn said after the game. “That's one way to score a goal, I guess, but your heart kind of stops for a second when you see that.”
Especially considering the Flyers bad luck with hits to the head this season (in addition to Simmonds’ broken jaw just a month prior), the play could have resulted in any number of terrible outcomes.
However, Simmonds is a hockey player and he returned.
After getting stitched up with seven stitches, Simmonds returned to the bench and immediately was put onto the ice, never skipping a beat.
When asked by Hockey Night in Canada if it was the toughest goal he’d ever scored, Simmonds responded by saying that he would do anything for the boys, which accurately sums up what Simmonds is all about.
Displaying nothing but a team first attitude since the day he joined the Flyers, Simmonds has consistently displayed that he is the kind of player that the Philadelphia fan base likes to see play.
“Yeah, he’s obviously a warrior and we were kind of scared a little bit there,” Claude Giroux said of Simmonds. “We were hoping it wasn’t his eye but he’s obviously a tough guy and he finds a way to get it in the net, even with his face.”
He doesn’t only need his face to get the puck into the net.
Simmonds is currently on a three game scoring streak that his seen him register five points over that span, four of which where goals.
While he may be known for his toughness, grit and selfless attitude, Simmonds has established himself as an important member of the team for the well-rounded game that he has brought this season.
Saturday’s gutsy play displayed that.
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