CHICAGO -- The past two weeks Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson was under a doctor's strong recommendation to limit his speech after being struck in the throat May 5 by a shot from Minnesota Wild defenseman Jonas Brodin.
Hjalmarsson was cleared to speak again Monday and met with reporters at United Center for the first time since the injury occurred. After being struck by the puck Hjalmarsson dropped to the ice and grabbed his throat. He was down for a few minutes before slowly skating to the bench to get his breath back. He didn't miss a shift and has played all five games since it happened, including Game 1 of the Western Conference Final against the Los Angeles Kings on Sunday.
"It was pretty scary once it happened," said Hjalmarsson, who has worn a Kevlar neck protector the past five games. "It was tough to breathe there for a couple minutes. I was just glad that I recovered quickly. And once I figured out that I'm able to breathe, it was a big relief. I guess I was pretty lucky and I'm just glad to be able to talk again and can't wait to get rid of that neck guard that I'm still wearing."
Chicago leads the best-of-7 series 1-0 after a 3-1 victory in the opener at United Center. Hjalmarsson did what he does best to help the team, logging 18:55 of ice time, blocking four shots and helping the Blackhawks kill off both Kings power plays.