Braden Holtby and Michal Kempny were both unable to suit up in Wednesday night’s game against the Winnipeg Jets. When the actual puck was dropped, things did not get any better for the Capitals.
In the first period, Washington lost their top point-getter Evgeny Kuznetsov to injury after a head shot. In the waning minutes of the game, star forward TJ Oshie, who has had at least four documented concussions in his career, was dropped on his head by defenseman Josh Morrissey.
“You can tell he’s not right over there on the bench,” the Jets play-by-play announcer said. After the game, Capitals head coach Todd Reirden mentioned Oshie was injured late in the game, but did not have an update on his condition.
The hit happened with 1:25 remaining in the third with Pheonix Copley pulled for an extra man. As Oshie tried to move past Morrissey, the defenseman rode the Capitals into the corner boards. Things went south when Morrissey pushed the Capitals forward down to the ice with his left shoulder.
Oshie landed on his head and neck.
The second-line forward struggled to get up and looked dazed and confused.
Oshie eventually tried to re-join the play, but was not much of a factor. Kyle Connor eventually scored the empty-net goal to close the scoring.
The maneuver Morrissey utilized was less a hockey play and more a wrestling move, specifically the Side Russian Legsweep performed in the past by wrestlers like Cody Rhodes.
With his skates planted behind Oshie’s, Morrissey pushes the fan favorite backwards so that the full weight of his body lands on his head.
After the game, Reirden said the Capitals lost Oshie “for a little bit” and stated that he hoped the Department of Player Safety reviews the hit.
“It’s going to be something the league looks at – similar to a situation that happened in Vancouver earlier in the year,” Reirden said. “Vulnerable player that’s thrown to the ice. That was difficult because we had possession six-on-five. We thought we were making a push couple times at the end of the game there.”
The play Reirden is referring to is when Elias Petersson got choked slammed to the ice.
“We’ll see and check in on TJ,” Reirden said. “I haven’t talked to our trainer tonight since the end of the game so I’m not sure where things stand with him.”
He added the team will reevaluate Oshie Thursday morning.
The Morrissey hit is the third head-related blow that Oshie has absorbed in the last week. Oshie also got hit in the head by Evgeni Malkin and high-sticked by Olli Maatta against the Penguins on November 7. Oshie returned after both plays and scored the game-winning goal that night.
The Capitals’ next game is Friday against the Colorado Avalanche.
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