Johnny T's good side... sort of

John Tavares took a puck off the face tonight, adding his name to the list of star NHLers who have been injured by pucks to the face in the last week. Said list now consists of Tavares and Dion Phaneuf. The miracle of this, if there is any, is that neither player plays for the Pittsbrugh Penguins who seem to have everything else going wrong for them, injury wise at least.

As Backhand Shelf’s venerable editor, Mr. Justin Bourne, noted last week: these injuries aren’t likely to slow anytime soon, ESPECIALLY with the emphasis on getting the puck up off the ice to beat butterfly goaltenders. Obviously Tavares’ injury – as you will see soon – came from an errant chip attempt, but the point remains the same.

A puck that is up is a hazard.

This will definitely be an interesting part of the game to keep an eye on. We seem to be on a run of headshots and concussions now, years after a run on high sticks and visor debate.

Could pucks to the face become the new “thing”?

UPDATE: You can add Jonathan Toews to the list. Click here and watch ~10 seconds in.

Comments (4)

  1. Mike Ribeiro also took a puck in the face from Trevor Daley last Thursday against Nashville. He lost a tooth and got his lip all busted up but returned to play and scored two goals (on a newly torn MCL) in the next game.

    There’s no video of the incident that I know of, but you can clearly see his busted-up face in the post-Edmonton Oilers interviews.

  2. I posted this on Justin’s other article, but I was a few weeks late in reading it, so I’ll re-iterate my thoughts here.

    I still don’t understand this new trend.

    When I was young, as a defenceman we were taught to shoot no higher than about 2 feet off the ice. We were bawled at if we shot high. The idea being, its not us trying to score, we are supposed to be giving forwards something to tip. Or in fact increase the chance that it would cannon off something and go in.

    From that distance out, on the point, it was felt that a good goalie would save it no matter how good the shot, so you needed it to be tipped or deflected.

    It used to be the case that most coaches would preach this as the high percentage play. I’m pretty sure most commentators and *cough* Don Cherry, have advocated this approach quite often.

    I know my forwards would come over and punch me in the face themselves if I hit them in the head because I shot high from the point!

    I don’t know if the stats are even out there, but it would be interesting if some of your stats minded reporters could look into this trend and see if shooting high or low is the true high percentage play in the NHL these days.

    Problem being you would have to take into account goals not scored by defencemen, but that were tipped from their shots. I don’t even know if the NHL keeps stats on where goals were scored from and into which part of the net.

    For my money, shooting low from the point for the deflection is the percentage play to make!

  3. Is this really a trend, or are we just happening to see a bunch of cases where people are getting hit at once and assume it’s a trend? I’m not being rhetorical, I really wonder what the stats are.

    But people have been getting hit in the face with pucks for a while, and of course, hundreds of people are still NOT getting hit in the face with pucks…

    Just wondering what the numbers might say. Maybe, like concussions, we have a better ability to diagnose a player who has been hit in the head with the puck and it is skewing the numbers :)

  4. Even a puck to the face cannot stop Tavares. 3 points after returning from the dressing room.

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