September 17, 2009
Here's the hit everyone will be talking about: Dion Phaneuf(notes) of the Calgary Flames, regaining his reputation as one of the NHL's most lethal open-ice checkers with an absolute demolition of Kyle Okposo(notes) of the New York Islanders. The massive hit, and the aftermath:
Full video over on the RDS site and on YouTube, including the goalies getting into the ensuing fracas and some really disturbing moments as the Islanders' young standout was flat on the ice -- the arena goes from ravenous cheering for a brawl to a library. The Flames also have additional looks, although they're fairly inconclusive.
Bob Nystrom reports on Calgary radio that Kyle Okposo called his father during the second period to tell him he's all right. Okposo was crushed by Dion Phaneuf as he was skating with the puck through the neutral zone.
Scary moments, and one heck of a hit from Phaneuf in a completely, utterly meaningless game. But hey, it's hockey; there's fights in the preseason, too. Wonder if Dion's ever talked to his coach's son about the Islanders and open-ice hits. As the annoucers said on the air: Phaneuf's hit on this one appears to be clean, but the video's not exactly conclusive.
UPDATE: Newsday reports that Okposo "was seen moving his hands and talking as he was put in an ambulance and taken to the hospital." Beat writer Katie Strang on Twitter said Okposo has a "mild concussion" but was cleared to fly back with the team.
Islanders blog Lighthouse Hockey, meanwhile, has a thorough take on the hit; opting not for the "Phaneuf left his feet" outcry most Isles fans have over the check, but slamming Dion for allegedly leading with his elbow and taking out "a puck carrier (who) already has two players defending him." It's worth a read, as is Two-Line's contrarian "keep your head up/it's a contact sport" rant.