Corey Crawford stays in game after being felled by rocket slap shot to the mask

If there’s a list of NHL players that you don’t want to see fire a slap shot directly at your face, Montreal Canadiens defenseman Shea Weber is at or close to the top of that list.

Unfortunately for Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford, he lived out that nightmare on Tuesday night at the Bell Centre. Somehow, though, he apparently came away unscathed.

Weber, who routinely exceeds 100 MPH with one of the hardest shots in the league, unleashed an absolute bomb that drilled Crawford right in the mask during a second-period power play. The shot came from relatively close range too, as Weber fired off a one-timer from around a face-off dot.

The force of the impact sent Crawford’s head whipping back and knocked him on his butt, causing play to cease almost immediately for his own safety. After briefly being examined by a Chicago trainer, Crawford stayed in the game.

It seems kind of crazy that the league’s mandatory on-site “concussion spotters” decided not to pull Crawford from the game — even briefly — to run him through protocol as a precaution. If taking a Weber slap shot to the face isn’t enough to warrant that, what are we even doing here?

But apparently Crawford didn’t exhibit any red flags or signs of a head injury in the immediate aftermath, and it’s hard to argue against his effectiveness in net. He stopped 40 of 42 shots and stood tall in a 4-2 Blackhawks win.