The enduring image of Nick Foligno's 2019-20 season is one that is no big deal to the Blue Jackets captain.
After taking a puck to the face late in a Feb. 20 game vs. Philadelphia -- a game in which Foligno made the NHL's highlight reel for the season with a sublime between-the-legs tally -- that cracked his visor, Foligno didn't miss a game. His only precaution? A joking practice gag in which he wore a goalie mask for a power-play drill.
While Foligno downplayed the incident, the image of him playing for the next few weeks with a pair of black eyes -- a look befitting a hockey player -- drove home the kind of effort, dedication and selflessness that the CBJ mainstay has come to embody.
"That's just the way he plays," Gus Nyquist said. "He's a hard-nosed type guy with a lot of skill. He's one of those guys that has it all, not just a skilled guy that can score goals. He plays with an edge, too, and stands up for guys. He has a lot of respect in the room and around the league in general. One of those guys that you love to have on your team."
The goal against Philadelphia also shows Foligno can add some scoring touch to his hard-nosed game, but the CBJ captain would be the first to tell you he probably didn't add as much offensively as he'd hoped. Foligno had 10 goals and 31 points in 67 games, a point total in line with recent seasons for the 32-year-old but a goals mark that he wished had been higher considering the injuries and scoring troubles that hit the Blue Jackets at times.
Still, he remained the consummate leader and all-around player for the team, playing a responsible all-around game -- the Blue Jackets had 54.1 percent of expected goals with Foligno on the ice -- and adding offense and a willingness to stick up for teammates when need be.
"In a very important time of year, he has stepped up his play, gotten more minutes," head coach John Tortorella said late in the year. "He knows the urgency that his team needs to have and I think is leading the team that way."
The NHL plans to resume the season in the coming weeks with training camps due to begin July 10, but for now, watch the video above for highlights from Foligno's season.