The Carolina Hurricanes lost 4-3 to the Detroit Red Wings in overtime on Monday night, but the result of the game and the playoff race are a distant second to the condition of Canes goaltender Eddie Lack after the Swedish netminder suffered an injury concurrent with the Wings scoring the winning goal.
Andreas Athanasiou rushed the net a minute into the extra session and was given a minor shove by Victor Rask. Athanasiou beat Lack to give the Wings the win, but as the puck went into the net Athanasiou collided with the top of Lack’s head, sending the goaltender sprawling backward awkwardly into the net.
Lack laid prone on the ice as the Hurricanes’ medical staff tended to him. For more than ten minutes, Lack barely moved as trainer Pete Friesen, Wake County EMS technicians, team doctors and staff looked to immobilize his neck. The Red Wings, caught awkwardly between celebrating an overtime win and showing concern for the opposing player, first started to move to their locker room, then changed course and stayed on the ice. Both teams gathered at the south end of PNC Arena to watch the staff treat Lack.
At one point, Noah Hanifin delivered a roll of tape as the paramedics looked to keep Lack as steady as possible. The PNC Arena crowd went silent, with no music playing, and stayed that way until after about ten minutes the medical crew had placed a neck brace on Lack and transferred him to a backboard and then to a stretcher.
Thank you for your thoughts and prayers as Eddie Lack is taken off the ice on a stretcher following tonight's game. pic.twitter.com/aOyMaTukF1— Carolina Hurricanes (@NHLCanes) March 28, 2017
While being wheeled off the ice, Lack did give the fans a thumbs up, which earned a hearty cheer from the crowd, and the players serenaded him with stick taps on his way off the ice. Lack was wheeled into an ambulance and taken to a local hospital.
Hurricanes head coach Bill Peters did not have an update on Lack’s condition after the game, but with Lack having suffered two concussions already this season, there was visible concern on the face of both the coach and Lack’s teammates in the locker room after the game.
This post will be updated with additional news as it becomes available. Our thoughts and best wishes go to Lack tonight amid hopes for a speedy recovery.
UPDATE: Lack’s father Wille tweeted an update after presumably speaking with his son at the hospital.
Eddie is sending his great full thanks for your love and prayers from the hospital. ❤— wille lack (@LackWille) March 28, 2017
UPDATE 11:00 pm - The Hurricanes have released the following statement:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – March 27, 2017
HURRICANES UPDATE ON EDDIE LACK
Goaltender was injured on the final play of tonight’s game against Detroit
RALEIGH, NC – The Carolina Hurricanes tonight released the following statement on the condition of goaltender Eddie Lack. Lack was injured in a collision with Detroit Red Wings forward Andreas Athanasiou (ahn-DRAY-uhs ath-ah-na-SEE-yew) on the final play of the game.
Eddie Lack is currently undergoing tests at UNC REX Hospital. He does have full feeling in his extremities. The Hurricanes will provide additional information about his condition when it is available.
UPDATE 12:00 am - We’ll know more tomorrow about the extent of Eddie’s recovery, but for now this is certainly welcome news, from Eddie himself.
Thanks for all thoughts and prayers everything looks alright and I'll be able to go home tonight! Thanks for thinking of me— Eddie Lack (@eddielack) March 28, 2017
UPDATE Tuesday 11:00 am: The Hurricanes confirmed that Lack has been released from the hospital and has been diagnosed with a neck sprain. Alex Nedeljkovic has been recalled on an emergency basis to fill Lack’s spot in the lineup.
.@eddielack's scans were negative and he was released from UNC Rex Hospital last night. He has been diagnosed with a neck strain.— Carolina Hurricanes (@NHLCanes) March 28, 2017
The Hurricanes thank all of the Caniacs and fans from around the league who sent thoughts and prayers in Eddie's direction last night.— Carolina Hurricanes (@NHLCanes) March 28, 2017