That’s what happened in a Swiss National League A playoff semifinal on Tuesday, as defenseman Marc Abplanalp of Fribourg was hit from behind along the end boards by Andreas Ambühl of ZSC Lions (the team coached by former NHL bench boss Marc Crawford).
Look at how Abplanalp’s body reacts to the hit, and the way his head hits the ice, and you’ll understand why he was stretchered off.
Abplanalp remained motionless on the ice for a few moments before he was taken to the back on a stretcher. The ZSC Lions reported that Abplanalp’s injuries weren’t serious; Martin Merk of Hockeyfans.ch reported that the defenseman may have a concussion.
What made the scene so eerie: That the hit was deemed clean, and Ambühl wasn’t penalized. Much like what happened in a Swiss Nationalliga B playoff game in early March, when Langenthal player Stefan Schnyder checked Olten defenseman Ronny Keller into the end boards. Doctors said Keller would be a “permanent paraplegic.”
It’s just a hard, injurious hit in a game that’s inherently violent – and sometimes just plain scary.