DETROIT – It looked bad and if you didn't see it live, you could tell just by hearing the reaction from the crowd inside Joe Louis Arena.
Just 2:14 remained in the Detroit Red Wings' 4-1 win Saturday night against the visiting Nashville Predators when forward Patrick Eaves was hit in the right ear by a puck fired off a slap shot from the blue line by Nashville rookie Roman Josi – who was making his NHL debut.
Eaves, who was killing a Nashville power play, got in front of the puck to block the shot but didn't drop to the ice. Instead, he turned his head as the puck came screaming at him high. It appeared to be a direct blow to his right ear and sent him to the ice immediately, where he was prone on his back for several seconds.
SOG: 24 | +/-: 0
Members of both teams said it was a scary moment.
"Really scary play," Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. "He was too close to the guy to get hit in the ear. I don't know how … the puck elevated obviously. You know the guy's not trying to shoot it that high from that close, so I don't know what happened."
Josi, who was just called up from Milwaukee in the American Hockey League on Friday, said he was just trying to get a shot on goal.
"We were on (a power play), and I gave it to (Jonathon Blum) and (Blum) gave it back and I wanted to get it to (the) net and one-time it," Josi said. "It's too bad I hit him. I hope he's all right and he's going to be fine. You never want to see a player going down and taken off on a stretcher. I felt bad. I just tried to get it to the net and hope he's all right."
The good news is that Eaves was moving and appeared to use some of his own strength to get on the stretcher.
"He was moving, but of course he was in a lot of pain," Wings center Henrik Zetterberg said. "So we just have to wait and see and hopefully he'll be OK."