The Pittsburgh Penguins lost one of their most important offensive weapons on Saturday night and, although we still as of yet have not received an official update form the Penguins organization, the early updates we are hearing at this time do not paint a pretty picture for the Penguins.
On Saturday night the Penguins were facing off against the Montreal Canadiens at the Bell Center in Montreal, Quebec Canada and unfortunately for the Penguins it did not take long for things to turn very ugly. During the game's opening period, after less than 8 minutes had gone by, Penguins defenseman Justin Schultz appeared to suffer a rather gruesome injury after falling awkwardly along the boards.
Schultz, his teammates, and the Canadiens were involved in a a fairly typical puck battle behind the Penguins net when Schultz managed to get loose from the pack and managed to get his stick on the puck. Schultz's positioning set him up for what should have been a textbook clearing attempt and in some ways it was exactly that, however a seemingly harmless hit from Canadiens veteran Tomas Plekanec made sure it was anything but.
Plekanec's hit did not appear to be the least bit malicious and in fact it seemed more like a player looking to finish his check just for the sake of saying he finished his check than anything else. That being said though the end result for Schultz was devastating, largely due to the fact that he appeared to end up off balance as a result of the hit. Following the hit Schultz fell backwards awkwardly and was unable to brace himself from the impact, resulting in the full weight of his body falling awkwardly onto his left leg.
Initially things did not look bad at all and play headed back up the ice and cameras followed while, unbeknownst to the viewers watching at home, Schultz was in absolute agony back on the other side of the ice. After what must have felt like an eternity for Schultz the NHL officials on the ice eventually blew the play dead and trainers were able to come out onto the ice to tend to him. Schultz's body language alone would have been enough to cause major concerns as the veteran defenseman was quite literally writhing on the ice in pain, a clear sign that something very bad had happened.
As the broadcast looked to catch up to what had happened to Schultz we were treated to several angles that appeared to show Schultz's ankle snapping under the weight of his own body. As Schultz fell back onto himself you can clearly see his left leg buckle under his own body, but when you focus in on his left ankle that is where the damage appears to happen.
Seemingly confirming that speculation on my part is a new report from Penguins insider Jasom Mackey that has revealed that Schultz was spotted on crutches following the injury, a very bad sign for the Penguins. Additionally according to Mackey Schultz was also sporting a boot on his left foot which would further appear to indicate that this is where the injury occurred, and furthermore that it is very serious indeed.
We expect an update from the Penguins in short order, but I think we already know what that is going to be.