It’s an image hockey fans have become dreadfully familiar with — the marriage of skate and skin. What initially looks like a harmless play soon escalates into a fight for a player’s life — literally. The pictures and video clips of Clint Malarchuk are things every hockey player has seen, and it remains something they try to stash away back in the deepened depths of their thoughts. Who could ever forget the incident involving Richard Zednik? How about Erik Karlsson just last year?
While the NHL does its best it can to try and protect its players, it’s nearly impossible to keep every square inch of the human anatomy covered by protective padding. Unfortunately, the tightly woven socks that take hours on end to stitch can only play such a roll in a player’s safety as well. Just ask Philadelphia Flyers prospect Anthony Stolarz.
The crease that Stolarz has so comfortably dominated for the OHL‘s London Knights this season soon played the part of a replicated murder scene.
Just about four minutes into last Friday night’s game with the Saginaw Spirit, the 19-year-old suffered a laceration to the back of his left leg. Thankfully, the skate missed his achilles and other major arteries. Stolarz is expected to miss anywhere from four to eight weeks, but due to a little luck on his side, doctors don’t expect there to be any lengthy setbacks. Team officials expect him to return just in time for the OHL playoffs. This one really was a matter of inches, folks.
Stolarz is one of Philadelphia’s highly praised prospects, and with ongoing caution being directed towards the Flyers’ goaltending position, front office members are thankful they dodged what could have been one serious bullet.
When the night was done, Stolarz was well on his way to recovery and tweeting from his hospital bed. But for a few brief moments, hockey fans around the world found themselves saying, “Oh no. Not again.”