When the game ended last night, Penguins coach Mike Sullivan made an uncharacteristically quick update on the status of Brian Dumoulin.
Coach Sullivan confirms that Brian Dumoulin has a concussion and Kris Letang is being evaluated for an upper body injury.— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) February 24, 2019
Sullivan no doubt wanted the league to know injury was suffered after this hit to the head by Wayne Simmonds knocked Dumoulin out of the game in the first period.
Simmonds' hit on Dumoulin. pic.twitter.com/F2trugCpEM— Broad Street Hockey (@BroadStHockey) February 24, 2019
To make matters worse, Kris Letang got taken down in the ensuing scrum by Shayne Gostisbehere and left the game as well and was not able to return. Sullivan was more coy citing the typical “still under evaluation” line.
And the ensuing chaos. pic.twitter.com/dgit6SWbmx— Broad Street Hockey (@BroadStHockey) February 24, 2019
Reports are the Flyers bench was laughing about this calling it a pro wrestling move the RKO on Letang. Really it was more of a bulldog, but either way it’s probably no laughing matter for a guy less than two years removed from a major neck surgery to be targeted up high for no real reason.
And of course, because this is the NHL, Letang was given a two minute penalty for this whole exchange. Gotisbehere got nothing, and Simmonds received a two minute penalty - not for his hit on Dumoulin, but for the resulting scrum.
Now it will be interesting to see what if any action the league wants to take supplementally on Simmonds.
Letter of the law, it'll be interesting to see what NHL DoPS rules here. But the result of the hit sucks.— Greg Wyshynski (@wyshynski) February 24, 2019
To Wysh’s point, “unnecessary extension of the body upward and outward” pretty much describes what Simmonds did there.
The game moves fast though, and Simmonds was trying to finish a check that ended up with a bad result. Not sure if his arm action at the end is enough to bring the ban hammer on the wheel of justice, though in slow motion it looks pretty bad.
Worse though, is Pittsburgh’s situation moving forward. Letang and Dumoulin are by far the team’s best defense, and losing either for an extended period of time would be a devastating loss for the stretch run.