You never want to see something like this happen. The Nashville Predators rookie Kevin Fiala had to be taken off the ice on a stretcher after an ugly crash into the boards during Wednesday night’s playoff game against the St. Louis Blues. The Nashville forward crashed awkwardly into the boards after a hit from the Blues Robert Bortuzzo. In obvious pain, medical staff rushed to his side as the stunned St. Louis crowd watched in silence. Fiala had to be stretchered off the ice and was taken to a local hospital for further evaluation. While there are no specifics on Fiala’s injury, the Predators tweeted that he remains alert and stable.
This story appears in the May 1, 2017 issue of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED. As the bleu, blanc et rouge charged onto the ice and the Bell Centre filled with chants of “Go, Habs, go,” a booming, bass-heavy track introduced the Canadiens before Game 1 of the Stanley Cup playoffs. As Rangers defenseman Dan Girardi recalls the opening four minutes, “They were killing us.
It wasn’t Brandon Carlo’s first concussion that he suffered at the end of the regular season after getting clobbered on a hit from behind by Alex Ovechkin, but it was the worst one that the 20-year-old had ever experienced as a hockey player. Instead, the 6-foot-5 rookie defenseman was relegated to missing the entire Stanley Cup playoff experience after playing in all 82 regular season games as a first year player, and will be asking “What If?” along with the rest of a Bruins roster that never got to compete in the postseason with their full complement of players. You go through all 82 games and you build toward the playoffs, and that was a big thing for us. There was a lot of attention around trying to get back into the playoffs, and I just wanted to be a part of it.