Blue Jackets’ Jason Chimera wheeled off ice on stretcher

ST. PAUL, Minn. – Columbus Blue Jackets forward Jason Chimera was wheeled off the ice on a stretcher after being checked into the boards by Minnesota Wild centre Eric Belanger.

The hit came with 6:17 to play in the second period of Minnesota’s 2-0 pre-season victory Friday night.

Chimera appeared to go into the boards face first after getting hit by Belanger. He stayed down on the ice for about five minutes before being placed on a stretcher and wheeled off. He gave two thumbs up on his way off and a team official said he was coherent. He was taken to a hospital for evaluation.

“From my view, it looked like he just had no chance to protect himself,” Columbus forward Rick Nash said. “Obviously, (Belanger) doesn’t have a history of (playing dirty) and he seems to be a pretty fair player. But I don’t know, I need to see the replay and judge from that.”

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Belanger was assessed a five-minute major for boarding and a game misconduct.

Belanger said he left Chimera a message wishing him well. He said he’s not a dirty player and that he thought Chimera saw him coming into the corner.

“I didn’t leave my feet, I didn’t hit his head,” Belanger said. “It’s just bad luck.”

Chimera was bloodied after being hit in the face with a deflected puck in the first period.