Jason Pominville leaves game on stretcher; Niklas Hjalmarsson ejected
It was a scary scene in Buffalo today, although I’m not sure what can be done about hits like this (video might come soon?).
Jason Pominville went up against the boards and was hit from behind/the side by defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson while Pominville was waiting to receive a pass. It’s always a bit risky to provide “instant analysis” of a dangerous check, but this didn’t seem like an outrageously vicious or an excessively “malicious” hit. That’s just my gut reaction, though, so feel free to share your thoughts on the collision in the comments.
Pominville was definitely in a prone position, so it makes sense that Hjalmarsson was kicked out of the game, but we’ll have to wait and see if the check is suspension-worthy. Hjalmarsson received a five-minute major penalty for the hit, so the immediate punishment might (might) help him avoid a suspension, but you never know with the league’s blindfolded dart-throwing justice system.
The best news, though, is that Pominville appeared conscious as he was being taken out on a stretcher. He gave the telltale “thumbs up” as he was being carted off to indicate to Sabres fans that he was OK (at least to some degree).
As always, we’ll keep an eye on Pominville’s health updates as well as any news on whether or not the league might fine and/or suspend Hjalmarsson for the hit. Hopefully Pominville will be healthy in the big picture and get back on the ice soon.