One of Team Sweden’s most dynamic players, Maple Leafs prospect William Nylander, was knocked out of Sweden’s World Junior opening game against Switzerland after taking a big open ice hit to the head.
The hit came from Switzerland’s Chris Egli, who was given a five-minute major and a game misconduct.
Nylander was removed from the game, but Sweden hasn’t offered an official update on his status. Uffe Bodin reported that Nylander left the locker room in street clothes, while Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston says there are confirmed reports from Swedish television that Nylander was taken to the hospital.
Here are a couple of angles on the hit.
Nylander is a massive loss to Sweden. He was expected to be a key figure for the team and showed that by scoring just 90 seconds into the game. If they’re without Nylander for the tournament it could really hurt the team’s odds. They’ve already lost Sebastian Aho for the tournament and have Gustav Forsling starting the tournament on injured reserve. Then they lost Adrian Kempe to injury during the game, after having already lost Nylander.
They’ve also got Felix Sandstrom on the shelf; he hasn’t been able to play all week because of a stomach virus.
Joel Eriksson Ek also took a vicious hit that left him bloodied and temporarily out of the game. He had to switch jerseys (and numbers) during the game because of the blood.
Nonetheless, the Swedes grabbed a win to open the tournament, beating Switzerland 8-3.
Kempe did interviews after the game and said that he doesn’t expect to miss any upcoming games due to injury.
Adrian Kempe did interviews post-game … said he was feeling fine & shouldn't miss any time
— Mark Masters (@markhmasters) December 26, 2015
The Swedish team doctor confirms that Nylander was sent to the hospital, but has already returned to the team. No decision has been made about whether Nylander will be held out of the rest of the tournament. He’s being monitored and will be reevaluated on Sunday.
Team Sweden doctor Sofia Sunnerud declined to say if William Nylander had a concussion. He's at team hotel and will be monitored overnight.
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) December 26, 2015
Swedish team doctor: William Nylander has been to hospital, is back with team, inconclusive on whether he will play further in #2016WJC
— Szymon Szemberg (@Sz1909_Szemberg) December 26, 2015
The Swedish coach isn’t happy about the situation though.
According to IIHF website, SWE coach Rikard Gronborg accused the Swiss of "head-hunting" and said his team was just trying to survive
— Mike Morreale (@mikemorrealeNHL) December 26, 2015
Dustin Nelson is the News Editor for The Hockey Writers. He’s a contributor to Hockey Prospectus, Hockey Wilderness, and writes a column for Rotowire. He’s also written for Gone Puck Wild, Wild Xtra, InDigest, Electric Literature, The Rumpus, Tiny Mix Tapes, Prefix Magazine & other publications. Have a tip? Email him at dlukenelson[at]gmail[dot]com.