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An Ovechkin slapshot to Jack Hillen's mouth

(Photos by Paul J. Bereswill - AP)

UPDATE: Via Islanders Authorized, Hillen is out for 6-8 weeks "with a broken jaw and damaged teeth. After taking an Alex Ovechkin slap-shot to the face last night, Hillen was rushed to hospital for further evaluation. He was in surgery last night and into the morning to insert plates into his jaw."

I tried to have a bit of fun with the story of Jimmy Cafritz, the longtime Caps fan and former team director who took a puck to the skull last week, shed lots of blood, went to the hospital and managed to go home and finish off his 80th birthday party that night.

The story of Jack Hillen, though, seems a bit less fun. The Islanders defenseman did what hockey defensemen do, throwing his face in front of an Alex Ovechkin slapshot at close range. The results were about what you'd expect; a pool of blood, a lot of quiet fans and scared players, and a trip to the hospital.

"It's the game of hockey, but you never want to see a player go down like that," Jason Chimera said, via FanHouse. "He took the full force of the shot. Difficult to watch."

"I was worried for the young man," Bruce Boudreau said, via Tarik. "We hate that. When you've got kids playing hockey, and you see that, you just hope his face is okay."

"Obviously once he went down, I knew it wasn't going to be good," Islanders Coach Scott Gordon said, via

The medical staff brought out a stretcher, but being a hockey player, Hillen skated off the ice on his own power. Ovechkin checked up on him before he left the ice, and the Caps joined everyone else in cheering for Hillen, tapping their sticks on the ice. Newday reports that a medical update is expected Wednesday morning. Here's hoping for the best.

By Dan Steinberg  |  January 27, 2010; 8:14 AM ET
Categories:  Caps  | Tags: Alex Ovechkin, Capitals, Jack Hillen, slapshot  
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That was a vicious hit. My wife was grossed out by the shot of him spitting blood onto the ice. Ovechkin seemed a little gun-shy later in the match; I wonder if he thought it wasn't worth the risk with the game already well in hand...

Posted by: crashinghero | January 27, 2010 8:23 AM | Report abuse

just proves once again that hockey players are the toughest athletes around. albert haynesworth needs oxygen after one series of plays. this kid eats a chuck of frozen rubber coming 80 miles an hour and skates off under (mostly) his own power.

guy for carolina took one of ov's shots to the face. got stiched up and came back into the game and scored a goal. guy for the flyers ate one, lost 6 teeth and came back in the game. unbelievable.

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | January 27, 2010 8:42 AM | Report abuse

Hockey players have a different sense of pain than the rest of us. Ovechkin himself had his nose broken early in a game against Montreal and went on to score four goals that night.

Posted by: greggwiggins | January 27, 2010 9:26 AM | Report abuse

Watching the game with some friends, all we could talk about was how nasty that looked. When the guy stood up we were mightily impressed. Greggwiggins apparently is correct -- hockey players must not feel pain like the rest of us. I couldn't stand after that, let alone try to skate off the ice.

Hope the guy is okay.

Posted by: jjhare | January 27, 2010 9:44 AM | Report abuse

That was pretty brutal. That shot was AT LEAST 80 mph as someone said above.

I would have to disagree that NHL defensemen knowingly throw their face in front of a puck as Steinberg says, that's just insane. A better way to put it is that while knowing the consequences, defensemen (and some forwards) try everything they can to block's just that blocking with your face is not that high on the list of body parts you want to use.

Posted by: Moose33 | January 27, 2010 10:30 AM | Report abuse

Broken jaw and "damaged teeth" say the Isles. Surgery done last night, out 6-8 weeks.

Posted by: Section117 | January 27, 2010 11:11 AM | Report abuse

I know this sounds like a knee-jerk reaction, but I'm surprised the league hasn't mandated further protection, either in visors or full-on cages.

The players would fight it, but it would be an attempt by the owners to protect their assets.

I'm not even aware of any studies done by the league to test the impact of such measures.

Posted by: JohninMpls | January 27, 2010 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Tough young player.

Posted by: Dlewis10 | January 27, 2010 11:08 PM | Report abuse

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