Better With Popcorn

Voracek and Jagr injured against Wings; player reaction to Kronwall hit

Injuries are a part of professional sports. Especially around this time of year, the bumps and bruises start to add up leaving almost every player with some kind of sore spot.

For the Philadelphia Flyers, this has been true all season.

The team has had to deal with so many injuries that it’s probably easier to name the guys on the roster who haven’t been hurt compared to the ones who have been.

On Tuesday night, during the team’s impressive 3-2 victory over the Detroit Red Wings the ‘healthy list’ seemingly became a little shorter.

During the second period, Flyers forward Jakub Voracek was laid out by a humongous hit by Detroit’s aggressive defenseman Niklas Kronwall.

The hit left Voracek prone on the ice for a few moments, prior to the player rolling over to his hands and knees.

“Jeeze, I wanted to puke,” Daniel Briere said when asked what he thought when he saw Voracek. “It's still not fun to see when you're on the ice and you see someone laying there shaking. It was a bad feeling in everybody's stomach.”

After taking a few minutes to collect himself, he was able to leave the ice surface under his own power. He did not return to the game.

"Yeah, I saw him,” Max Talbot said when asked about an update on Voracek. “I don't know. I think the team is going to answer this question."

It was reported by several sources that he had not suffered a concussion and only needed stitches to his upper and lower lip.

He will be reevaluated on Wednesday.

The hit has left many divided. While it is largely agreed that it was not a dirty hit in the sense that Kronwall did not use an elbow, there is still issue over where the point of contact was.

“It was hard to tell, when you go back and look at it, it was clearly the head which is tough,” head coach Peter Laviolette said. “That’s the area that’s supposed to be safer this year and he got popped right on it.”

As per Rule 48.1 of the NHL rulebook, any hit that targets a player’s head as the principal point of contact is not permitted. While Kronwall may have administered a clean check, the head certainly appeared to be the target.

(EDIT: early Wednesday morning, TSN insider Bob McKenzie tweeted that the league was not going to pursue supplemental discipline on the hit. The reasoning was that while the principal point of contact was the head, the league viewed it as a full body hit and not the kind of play that they think should be out of the game.)

Regardless it didn’t really matter to any member of the Flyers.

“Dirty or not, I think it is frustrating for guys in this dressing room to see a hit like this happen,” Max Talbot said. “You never want to see a guy go down.”

The hit left Kronwall with plenty of players looking to exact revenge. Ultimately, the Detroit player felt it unnecessary to answer the call.

“Obviously a lot of guys wanted to see [Niklas] Kronwall and he didn't want to answer for his act,” Talbot said in reference to members of the team challenging Kronwall to a fight. “It is something that he thought was a clean hit so you can't blame the guy. At the same time it is frustrating for us."

The most frustrating part of the injury is the fact that Voracek has been playing so well for the Flyers.

With James van Riemsdyk already out of the lineup for the remainder of the regular season, the potential loss of Voracek is something no one wants to see.

He scored the Flyers first goal against the Red Wings, which tied the contest at one.

“Obviously we hope Jake is gonna be okay,” Claude Giroux said. “He is one of our best players and he was playing unbelievable in the game too. Hopefully he is going to be fine for the next game.”

To make matters worse, Voracek wasn’t the only player that had to leave the game early due to injury.

Jaromir Jagr also left the game in the second period. It was announced by the team after the game that it was due to a hip injury.

Jagr has had an issue with his groin for much of the season. Prior to leaving the game, he went out onto the ice during a TV timeout and took a few strides to test something out.

All of which are indicators that the groin issues may have returned.

He too will be evaluated on Wednesday.


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Kyle Andrew Busch's picture

You hate to see a guy injured like that, but I agree that it wasn't intentional. I think you said the right thing in 'full body hit.' I think the principle point of contact was his whole body, and his head hit the ice. Kronwall just stepped up and made a play and it's unfortunate to see Voracek injured. I think some of the Flyers knew it wasn't a dirty hit and that's why they didn't push the issue so much. Kronwall isn't that type of player.