Photo credit: Gary I. Rothstein
During Sunday’s game between the Florida Panthers and Anaheim Ducks, former Capitals player (and fan favorite) Matt Bradley suffered what appears to be a significant injury.
During the second period, Anaheim’s George Parros apparently leveled Bradley at center ice with a high shoulder hit. Bradley attempted to hit Parros into the boards in retaliation a few seconds later. Parros slowed to avoid the hit, causing Bradley to collide with the glass headfirst. Bradley was unable to continue playing and required help off the ice and into the locker room. He did not return to the game.
The hit seemed unspectacular at first and did not garner much attention from the broadcast team, but repeated views make for harrowing stuff. The crown of Bradley’s helmet seems to be the main point of contact with the glass, and his head rocks back violently (the best view of this is around 1 minute into the video).
The glass required replacement after the play, and it may have cracked due to the impact with Bradley’s helmet.
On Monday, Panthers head coach Kevin Dineen told George Richards of the Miami Herald that Bradley’s injury is “not short term.”
Matt Bradley missed more than a month with the Capitals due to a hand injury suffered on December 21st, 2010. In 45 games with the Panthers this season, Bradley has 3 goals and 5 assists, averaging 10:52 per game.
As we’ve learned way too often over the last few years, head injuries are mysterious affairs. Hits that look debilitating could be be minor, and hits that look insignificant may be profound. We don’t know yet where Matt’s hit will fall on that spectrum, but we’re worried for a player that has meant so much to this community over the past seven years.
Additional reporting by Ian Oland and Fedor Fedin.