MONTREAL – Any time that Zdeno Chara winds up and blasts away with a slap shot during an NHL game, it’s a play that’s fraught with danger if something goes horribly wrong. So it was a scary, sobering moment in Saturday night’s Bruins/Canadiens game when Habs winger Phillip Danault was hit in the head with a heavy, hard Chara slapper in the closing minutes of the second period in Boston’s 3-2 shootout win at the Bell Centre.
Danault stayed down on the ice for a long time, and eventually had to be wheeled off the Bell Centre ice on a stretcher as Zdeno Chara sent along words of encouragement to his fallen opponent. Both Chara and Bergeron stood by Danault as he was worked on by medical personnel and then made sure to check in with him prior to being transported to the hospital.
Chara was clearly concerned after the game had concluded, and it shouldn’t be surprising at all given how shaken up the 6-foot-9 defenseman was when one of his slap shots shattered then-Rangers captain Ryan Callahan’s leg seven years ago.
“I was just hoping that he’s not hurt. That was the first thing going through my mind,” said Chara. “It happens, but it’s very unfortunate. Sometimes we all get hit in the upper body. You don’t want to ever see anybody get hit in the head/neck area and then being carried off the ice. I’m wishing him a fast and a full recovery.
“I wanted to talk to him. I felt bad obviously that he got hit. I want to make sure that he was okay and he was responding.”
Bergeron and Danualt are friends that work out together during the summer in Quebec City, so the Bruins center was similarly affected by watching the scary incident that ended up cutting the second period short by 1:37 as they worked on the Habs forward.
“It’s tough to watch. It doesn’t matter who it is, but when it’s a friend I guess it hits you a little bit harder,” said Bergeron. “I wanted to make sure he was fine. He was laying there for a while. I was able to tell him to take care of himself and that I was thinking of quickly, and he was able to respond. So that was a good sign.”
The good news was that Danault was conscious and alert at the hospital while being treated, and that he responded well to both Chara and Bergeron as he was being loaded on the stretcher. Now the hope is that the head injury for Danault isn’t a serious one, and that he winds up making a full recovery for a return to the Habs lineup.