VANCOUVER – Vancouver defenceman Dan Hamhuis was knocked out of Wednesday night’s game against Anaheim 6:29 into the third period after his head hit the end glass following a hit by Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf.
Hamhuis had just passed the puck and turned his back as Getzlaf came around the net from behind and delivered a check to the back of his left shoulder.
But Hamhuis’ head hit the glass hard and he fell immediately to the ice, flat on his back for several minutes before finally sitting up.
Canucks coach Alain Vigneault said afterward that Hamhuis seemed fine in the locker room, other than a large red mark on his face from where he hit the glass. Asked if he believed Getzlaf’s hit was dirty, Vigneault said he hadn’t seen the hit.
“From the bench I was looking at Dan and where the puck was going. I haven’t seen the replay,” Vigneault said.
Hamhuis eventually skated to the bench with a teammate holding either arm, and went straight to the locker room. There was no penalty to Getzlaf, who was playing his first game since missing six weeks with facial fractures.
“I was going in to make a play and it’s one of those things that it happens in a game and I wish nothing but the best for him,” Getzlaf said. “Obviously I don’t want to hurt anybody out there. I went in to make the play, I didn’t leave my feet, I kept my shoulder down and he was just following through on a pass and it was an unfortunate accident.”
Replays appeared to show Getzlaf’s feet leaving the ice. Getzlaf disputed that saying his skates came off the ice after the hit.
“I never jumped at him before the hit and that’s the main thing,” Getzlaf said.
Hamhuis, who is averaging 23 minutes of ice time on the top pairing with Kevin Bieksa, is the second Canucks defenceman in as many games to get hurt.
Keith Ballard is out three to four weeks with a sprained MCL in his right knee after being taken down from behind early in Monday’s game against Ottawa.
Vancouver is already missing top defenceman Alex Edler, who had back surgery last week and rookie Lee Sweatt broke his foot in practice Saturday.
“I didn’t really see the hit but it was scary to see him on the ice,” Vancouver goaltender Cory Schneider said. “(Hamhuis) has been a big part of our core since we starting losing guys and logging big minutes. Hopefully it’s nothing too serious.”
Veteran Sami Salo was on his way back Wednesday from a three-game conditioning stint in the American Hockey League after missing the entire season with a torn Achilles’ tendon. Vigneault spoke with Salo before Wednesday’s game and said Salo will practise on Friday with the plan that the veteran will return Saturday against Calgary.
“He said he felt really good the three games he played. He’ll practise with us Friday and he’ll tell me how he feels,” Vigneault said.