What should have been a shining moment for the Florida Panthers on the international stage has turned into a nightmare.
Aleksander Barkov and Tomas Kopecky, Florida’s only Olympic representatives, suffered injuries during the preliminary round and will miss the remainder of the Olympics.
The Panthers will likely want their own team doctors to re-evaluate the condition of each player when they return to the United States. But reports suggest both could be out for an extended period of time, perhaps the remainder of the season.
Barkov suffered a knee injury which ix expected to keep the center out 4-6 weeks, Finnish newspaper Ilta-Sanomat reported. Finnish team doctor Harri Hakkarainen told the newspaper Barkov is likely to require surgery.
The Panthers rookie suffered the injury during the third period of Finland’s contest against Norway.
Hokej.sk, a sports news web site focusing on Slovakian hockey, confirmed Sunday morning team doctors diagnosed Kopecky with a concussion. On Saturday, the winger took an elbow to the head from Slovenia’s Sabahudin Kovacevic, then collided with Ales Kranjc on the same play. The hit left Kopecky disoriented and he fell several times on the way back to his team’s bench.
He did not return, and was held out of Sunday’s game against Russia.
Barkov, the second-overall pick in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft who was making his Olympic debut, appeared in two games for Finland, recording one assist and averaged 16:39 in ice time per game.
Kopecky, appearing in his second Olympic games was held scoreless in two contests. He averaged 10:20 in ice time per game for Slovakia.