The recent Dion Phaneuf hit on Islanders' forward Kyle Okposo got me thinking about one collision in particular that will always leave me cringing in disbelief.
On May 13, 1993, the Pittsburgh Penguins entered Round 2, Game 7 against the New York Islanders. Winner moved one step closer to the Cup, loser went home with their head in hand. For Pittsburgh this presented the opportunity of a three-peat, something we now know never happened.
However, this would also be the game where bruiser-forward Kevin Stevens suffered the most devastating injury of his career. It may easily be one of the more painful, if not stomach-churning injuries, you'll ever see.
Take the jump to see the video and further description.
Shortly into the first period, Stevens went charging into Islanders defenseman Rick Pilon. It's believed that Stevens lost consciousness on impact, as seen by his face colliding with Pilon's helmet. The sheer force behind the hit caused Stevens to spin around in the air and land face first onto the ice. No hands to cushion the fall.
Click ahead to about the 50 second mark in this video:
Stevens was taken off the ice on a stretcher, later undergoing hours of reconstructive surgery that resulted in metal plates being inserted into his face. Doctors literally made a cut under his hairline from ear to ear, pulled back the skin and inserted the plates. It took over 100 stitches to close him up.
Stevens' career point total peaked in 1992 at 123, followed shortly after by 111 points in 1993. However he would never have another 100+ season again in his career after this injury. Despite returning the following year to post 88 points (41G, 47A), it would ultimately be his last full season with Pittsburgh and the first step in what would be a multi-city tour straight toward the end of his career in 2002 when he landed back in Pittsburgh and fittingly went out a Penguin.