Chicago Blackhawks center Artem Anisimov left the team's game against the Arizona Coyotes on Tuesday night after being driven into the boards head-first on a hit from Antoine Vermette. The play appeared to leave Anisimov injured as he slowly left the ice before heading to the locker room.
Anisimov is boarded by Vermette. Five minute major & a game misconduct. #Blackhawks pic.twitter.com/eJQEuCL0sD— Cristiano Simonetta (@CMS_74_) April 6, 2016
Vermette received a five-minute major for boarding and game misconduct as a result of the hit. The Blackhawks scored two goals during the extended power play to push their lead to 5-0, but the health of Anisimov will be a more important matter going forward. Coach Joel Quenneville said after the game that he is day-to-day with an upper-body injury.
Here's another look at the hit in slow motion:
Slow-mo...Violent collision ensues when Anisimov turns back as Vermette was in the process of making the check. pic.twitter.com/YayPvC1H6r— Cristiano Simonetta (@CMS_74_) April 6, 2016
The 27-year-old center has been a key cog for Chicago as the No. 2 center behind Jonathan Toews and is fourth on the team with 20 goals. His absence would be a major loss for a team that's already dealing with some uncertainty at other positions heading into the playoffs.
Vermette has been well-liked in Chicago since winning a Stanley Cup with the team last year, so this won't do him any favors. I don't think there was any ill intent here, however, just a dangerous hit because he went for the check as Anisimov turned his back toward the center of the ice. The league is doing the right thing by trying to limit these plays as much as possible by punishing them when they occur, but I wouldn't anticipate any major long-term consequences for Vermette as a result of this play.
The more important thing is that Anisimov is hopefully alright. An upper-body injury can be worrisome in this case given that it leaves open the possibility of a head injury, which might not be something he gets over quickly if that's the case.