Jiri Hudler has his face driven into the end-boards by Calgary defenseman Scott Hannan during second-period action Thursday at Joe Louis Arena. (Photo by Gregory Shamus)
If the old adage is correct – a picture can tell a thousand words – then what does the image, which shows Scott Hannan’s left arm driving Jiri Hudler’s face into the end-boards, possibly say?
Not too much, apparently.
After the hit, which occurred in the second period of Thursday’s game against Calgary, Hudler needed 26 stitches to close two nasty gashes – one above and one below – his left eye. He also needed a new plastic visor to replace the one broken when his face unceremoniously met the hard plastic ridge that sits atop the dasher boards.
As a result of the play, Hannan received a two-minute minor penalty for – get this – holding. The Red Wings scored on the ensuing power-play, but that wasn’t enough to stop them from dropping a 4-1 decision to the Flames.
Once sewn up, Hudler returned to action in the third period. But after the game, he was accompanied home by a reminder of the hit: A swollen face and headache that made for a restless night.
“I didn’t get much sleep, but what are you going to do with 26 stitches?” said Hudler, who practiced with the Wings Friday afternoon. “It’s not up to me to make the call, obviously. … I feel pretty lucky. I hit the boards pretty hard.”
The play started when Hudler chased a loose puck deep in the Flames’ zone. He engaged Hannan near the bottom of the right circle, and as the players’ momentum carried the pair toward the end-boards to the side of the Flames’ net, Hannah used his leverage to shove the Wings’ forward face-first into the boards.
It’s unlikely that Hannan, who is three-inches taller and nearly 40-pounds heavier than Hudler, will receive any further disciplinary action from the league office.
“I was protecting myself,” Hannan told the Calgary Herald after the game. “It looked like (Hudler) caught an edge, and I just put him into the boards a little bit.”
I didn’t see Hudler catch an edge. But I did see Hannan catch a big break.