Kevin Westgarth and Luke Gazdic fought last night during the Flames-Oilers game, and it was a rather even match. Just as the commentators observed the length of the brawl, Gazdic knocked Westgarth out with one final punch. Westgarth bounced his head hard off of the ice and didn't return to the game.
That moment is the worst-case scenario of hockey fights. Yes, the officials are there to stop fights when the players fall to the ice, and other scenarios which would end dangerously, and most of the time, they do. But there was no way to prevent what happened to Kevin Westgarth. Hindsight says that maybe the officials should have intervened a couple of punches earlier, but both Gazdic and Westgarth were handling themselves to everyone watching. All it took was one well-placed hit to turn the match from normal to concerning in terms of Westgarth's health. He clearly struggled skating off the ice.
The Flames face the Wild in Minnesota on Monday, but Westgarth will not play. After last night, he was diagnosed with a head injury and traveled back to Calgary.
#Flames RW Kevin Westgarth, passing through dressing room after game: "I'm good."
— Wes Gilbertson (@SUNGilbertson) March 2, 2014