There has been a segment of the National Hockey League fan base as well as members of the hockey media who have been calling for all players to be obligated to wear their helmets during the pre-game warm ups and if you were wondering why look no further than this evening's incident.
The Pittsburgh Penguins are facing off against the Ottawa Senators on Saturday night and just about the last thing the team would want to deal with is a player getting hurt in pre-game warm ups, but that is exactly what happened. The Penguins were going through the motions of their warm ups, skating around the ice, taking shots on goal, and one player was particularly notable because he was not wearing his helmet, veteran forward Patric Hornqvist. Now normally his lack of a helmet during warm ups would have been a non issue, but fate and a little carelessness appeared to conspire against Hornqvist and punish him for leaving his head wear behind.
As the Penguins were all taking shots on an empty net in the final stages of their warm up, Hornqvist lined up to do the same but somehow the shot got away from him in a major way. Instead of hitting what was a wide open net, Hornqvist instead managed to elevate the puck enough to cause it to ring off the crossbar and as fate would have it the puck deflected off the crossbar in the worst way possible. With the rest of his body entirely shielded by his equipment Hornqvist watched as the puck came spinning back towards his exposed head, and that's exactly where it eventually landed.
The puck struck Hornqvist right in the forehead and bounced back off with enough velocity to indicate that it had caught him pretty good, and he could be seen grabbing at his forehead as he headed back to the Penguins bench and eventually back to the locker room. It was hard to tell based on the camera angles provided but it seems as if the top of Hornqvist's head may have been cut by the puck, making his bad luck even worse. The good news is that he remained in the game and appears to be good to go.