Playoff Hockey

The Blue Jackets suffered a devastating loss Sunday night, but fans who didn't already know, learned a little about the toughness of hockey players.

 

19-year old rookie defenseman Zach Werenski took a puck to the face---just below his right eye. The controversial second period incident became a key moment in what would eventually be a devastating 5-4 Blue Jackets loss to Pittsburgh in game 3 of their Eastern Conference playoff series. 

Leading 3-2, Werenski was in front of Pittsburgh's Phil Kessel who took a shot from the slot that got under Werenski's visor and drilled him just below the eye. With Werenski on the ice bleeding, play was allowed to continue. Playing with a man advantage as Werenski laid on the ice, Pittsburgh maintained control of the puck and scored the tying goal.  

 

Based on the rule book, the right call was made. Since Pittsburgh controlled the puck, play was not whistled dead--even though Werenski was bleeding on the ice...but that's not always how an injury like Werenski's is treated.

"If there's blood, especially in the face, I don't understand how that rule makes sense for safety reasons" Jackets captain Nick Foligno said. "We've had it whistled down (with an injured player) on us before and (the official) said I'd be sick to my stomach if I knew something serious happened to that guy and I didn't whistle it down so that bothers me a little bit."

Werenski, remarkably, returned to the game in the 3rd period but could not play in overtime because his right eye had swollen shut. His status for game four is not known. 

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