Monday, March 17, 2008

Scary moments

Excitement over last night's two overtime 3-2 Gopher victory over the Mavericks was tempered by the horrible cheap shot on Tom Pohl in the second period. MSU's Jason Wiley elbowed Pohl in the head from behind, causing Pohl's helmet to come off. The result, we are learning today, was more severe than previously thought:

Gophers senior forward Tom Pohl is in intensive care after brain surgery at St. Mary's Hospital in Rochester today.

Pohl was elbowed to the ice and injured during Minnesota's 3-2 double-overtime victory over Minnesota State Sunday in Mankato.

Pohl sustained a skull fracture when his head hit the boards in front of the team's bench at 6:09 of the second period. The injury resulted in bleeding on the brain and Pohl was airlifted to St. Mary's Hospital.

Successful surgery was performed to stop the bleeding and stabilize the fracture. Pohl remains at the hospital for further observation.

Spare a thought or prayer for Pohl today if you get a chance. It sounds like he could use it.

UPDATE: Here's video, and I swear, as long as I live, seeing this image will give me a bad case of the willies.

There is also quite the lively comment section at the Strib that begs some clarification. Was the Wiley hit a cheap shot? Most definitely. He came from behind Pohl, blind-sided him with an elbow in his ear, and powered through. But that doesn't mean Wiley intended to injure Pohl. The injury was sustained because Pohl's helmet fell off when he received the elbow and there was no protection between his face and the boards. It certainly happened too fast for Wiley to pull up.

Cheap shots happen all the time in hockey. It 's the nature of the game. Just about any player would have seen Pohl as a juicy target and taken advantage. Certainly Wiley was hoping to sting him and make him think twice along the boards. If I had to bet, I'd say Wiley feels pretty lousy today about how this turned out.

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