Hawks Insider

Blackhawks' Connolly ejected as Tanner Kero stretchered off ice

/ by Charlie Roumeliotis
Presented By Nationwide Insurance Agent Jeff Vukovich
Hawks Insider
Brandon Hagel, MacKenzie Entwistle and Alex DeBrincat

Blackhawks forward Brett Connolly was ejected from Saturday's game after laying a big hit on Dallas Stars forward Tanner Kero, who was stretchered off the ice. 

The incident occurred at the 3:02 mark of the first period. Kero was looking over his shoulder expecting to receive a pass from teammate Alexander Radulov but the puck was rimmed around the glass.

Connolly stepped up and tried to time the hit but Kero never touched the puck and you could immediately see the distress in Connolly's body language after realizing the severity of the injury. Connolly was assessed a five-minute major for interference and a game misconduct, and rightfully so.

The Stars provided an encouraging early update in the first period: "Tanner Kero is conscious, alert and responsive. He’ll be transported to the hospital for precautionary measures and evaluation.”

This was obviously the last thing the Blackhawks wanted to see, especially considering they saw one of their own players in Jujhar Khaira be stretchered off in a game on Dec. 7.

"Yeah, that sucks," Alex DeBrincat said following Chicago's 4-3 overtime loss. "It happened to Juj a couple weeks ago and it's definitely not a good feeling. No one's out there trying to do that. It's a very unfortunate play and hopefully he's feeling better soon."

Blackhawks interim head coach Derek King said Connolly was still "shaken up" about the play after the game. Connolly has played in 570 career NHL games, including postseason, and has never been suspended.


"He's not that type of person," King said of Connolly. "He's not trying to do something like that or hurt somebody. I'll have to have a little talk with him and calm him down a bit here.

"You don't want to see that or wish that on anybody. [Connolly] is just not that type of player. ... I just hope Tanner is good. Tanner's a real good kid. I had him in Rockford for a little bit. You don't want to see that, but it does happen in this game and hopefully he's fine."

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