NHL: Winnipeg Jets’ Tucker Poolman takes slap shot to the jaw

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Painful moment Winnipeg defenseman Tucker Poolman takes a slap shot to the jaw and leaves a 30-foot blood trail across the ice before returning with stitches and a bigger face mask

  • Jets defenseman Tucker Poolman took a slap shot to the jaw before leaving a 30-foot blood trail across the ice and returning with stitches and a bigger face mask
  • After the puck ricocheted near the Winnipeg net, Calgary’s Mikael Backlund launched a slap shot in front of the diving Poolman, who was wearing a visor
  • The puck flew under Poolman’s visor and crashed into the right side of his face 
  • He returned in the third period with a full cage face mask and some stitches  
  • The NHL resumed its pandemic-interrupted season in two bubbles located in Edmonton and Toronto. The expanded playoffs are underway with 24 teams 
  • The Jets are facing elimination, trailing Calgary 2-1 in a best-of-five series 

The NHL has avoided any new coronavirus infections inside the league’s two bubbles, but as Winnipeg Jets defenseman Tucker Poolman learned after taking a puck to the face on Tuesday, it’s still best to wear a face mask.

Poolman, who typically plays with a visor, changed to a full cage mask after being struck in the face in the second period of the Jets’ 6-2 loss to the Calgary Flames on Tuesday in Edmonton. 

After the puck ricocheted deep in the Winnipeg zone, Calgary’s Mikael Backlund launched a slap shot in front of the diving Poolman. Unfortunately for the 6-foot-3, 210-pound defenseman, the puck flew under his visor and appeared to strike him on the right side of his face along the jawbone. 

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Winnipeg Jets defenseman Tucker Poolman took a slap shot to the jaw on Tuesday before leaving a 30-foot blood trail across the ice and returning with stitches and a bigger face mask

Winnipeg Jets defenseman Tucker Poolman took a slap shot to the jaw on Tuesday before leaving a 30-foot blood trail across the ice and returning with stitches and a bigger face mask

After the puck ricocheted in front of the Winnipeg net, Calgary's Mikael Backlund (No. 11 in white) launched a slap shot in front of the diving Poolman (left). Unfortunately for the 6-foot-3, 210-pound defenseman, the puck snuck under his visor and appeared to strike him on the chin

After the puck ricocheted in front of the Winnipeg net, Calgary’s Mikael Backlund (No. 11 in white) launched a slap shot in front of the diving Poolman (left). Unfortunately for the 6-foot-3, 210-pound defenseman, the puck snuck under his visor and appeared to strike him on the chin

Poolman returned with a new full cage mask, which obscured the damage to the right side of his face.

Poolman leaves a trail of blood on the ice as he is helped off during the second period

(Left) After being struck with Backlund’s slapper, Poolman returned in the third period with a new full cage mask, which obscured the damage to the right side of his face. (Right) Poolman leaves a trail of blood on the ice as he is helped off during the second period

Blood from Winnipeg Jets' Tucker Poolman leaves a red trail on the ice after he was helped off during the second period

Blood from Winnipeg Jets’ Tucker Poolman leaves a red trail on the ice after he was helped off during the second period

Edmonton's ice crew quickly scraped up the plasma at Rogers Place, which has banned fans amid the coronavirus pandemic

Edmonton’s ice crew quickly scraped up the plasma at Rogers Place, which has banned fans amid the coronavirus pandemic

A clear shot of the damage wasn’t visible, but television cameras did capture the roughly 30-foot blood trail he left on his way to the locker room, where he was apparently stitched up. 

The team did not reveal how many stitches he received.  

‘Tucker was really lucky he didn’t lose any teeth,’ Jets coach Paul Maurice told reporters. ‘He’s got some sutures there. He’s got a giant-sized. . . five golf balls. He’s got a huge welt on the side of his face.’

Edmonton’s ice crew quickly scraped up the plasma at Rogers Place, which has banned fans amid the coronavirus pandemic.

But as gruesome as the scene was for Poolman, he still managed to return for the third period, albeit with a full cage mask rather than the plexiglass visor.

‘That’s a great thing for your hockey team when he walks back into the locker room,’ Maurice said. ‘We were all concerned, really concerned, after he took that puck.’

The Jets are facing elimination, trailing Calgary 2-1 in a best-of-five series in the NHL’s expanded 24-team playoff following the coronavirus hiatus. The league’s other bubble is located in Toronto.

Game 4 will be played Thursday in Edmonton.

The ice crew work to clean up the blood from Tucker Poolman on Tuesday in Edmonton

The ice crew work to clean up the blood from Tucker Poolman on Tuesday in Edmonton 

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