It’s been a rough start to the 2016 World Junior Championship for top-line U.S. winger Alex DeBrincat. In the first game he was ejected for a spearing penalty.
In Monday’s game against Sweden, he was injured in the first period after having his head driven into the boards by Swedish defender Adam Ollas Mattsson. The hit, though it wasn’t dirty, bloodied DeBrincat and left him visibly woozy on the ice.
NHL Network announcers said at the start of the second period that DeBrincat wouldn’t return to the game. They also mentioned between the first and second periods that the team has said he’ll require further evaluation on Tuesday, so this has the potential to be more than a one-game thing.
Here’s a look at the hit that removed DeBrincat from the game, courtesy of @myregularface.
no wait, that was already there. anyway, here is the hit that injured Debrincat pic.twitter.com/nHO5vW9LvM
— steph (@myregularface) December 28, 2015
The U.S. moved Brock Boeser up to Auston Matthews’s top line, maybe creating a bit of an offensive imbalance on their lines.
It’s a tough break for both DeBrincat, who is making his international debut for the U.S., and the team. They’ve had to start two straight games by losing a top-line winger. It’s messing with their depth and stopping their top forward line from developing chemistry and getting in a rhythm, which could become important as the tournament wears on.