When you hear “hockey players are the toughest athletes in any sport,” it usually precedes a highlight of a guy getting busted open then returning to the ice, or pulling out his own tooth but never leaving the bench, or taking a beating in a fight then skating right back out there and dropping the gloves again.
But on Thursday night, Matt Hendricks offered up a new example. For guys, the most painful example.
Yeah, that example.
With Hendricks’ team down 2-0 and playing shorthanded in the second period, the Edmonton Oilers forward found himself in the line of fire of an Alex Goligoski slap shot. And before he could react, he took the puck right where no player should ever take the puck.
Just listen to the analyst groan when he sees it during the live broadcast on SportsNet Canada:
You could even hear some in the crowd groan in the final replay.
While Hendricks barely managed to skate off the ice before collapsing in the tunnel, sure enough he was back out there before the game was over.