The noise you heard around 8:00 p.m. PST was the sound of LA Kings fans' sphincters tightening as they saw Drew Doughty head for the locker room in the first period.
Doughty used his shoulder to land a big, legal hit on San Jose's Tyler Kennedy. Following the impact, Doughty doubled over as he made his way back to the bench. Our friends at The Royal Half have two GIFs of the hit that caused the injury: one from far-away and one from up-close.
In much discomfort, the Kings defenseman went back to the locker room on the next stoppage. There was no word of his status until the teams took the ice for the second period. From LA Kings Insider, Jon Rosen:
Upper body injury for Doughty, not expected to return.
— Jon Rosen (@lakingsinsider) April 4, 2014
If this ends up being a long-term injury for Doughty, the Kings are in big trouble.
Anze Kopitar and Doughty have been lights-out for Los Angeles since the Olympic break. Should these two teams meet in the first round - and based on the nastiness in Thursday night's game, we want them to - not having Doughty swings the advantage to the Sharks.
The brightest spot to come out of the injury was Drew Remenda's in-game interview with Darryl Sutter. Remenda asked, "Darryl, who do you lean on with Doughty in the room?" Sutter dryly replied with, "Lean on five guys instead of six". Remenda is the color-guy for the Sharks and was in the same position while Sutter coached in San Jose.
A note to teams with guaranteed playoff spots. Now might be a good time to wrap all your important players in bubble wrap or a Bubble Boy-esque contraption until the playoffs start unless you want them to join the list of injured superstars.