The question of whether an intact face is more valuable to a hockey player than a goal in the regular season has plagued sports philosophers for generations, and now it’ll be a question that Hurricanes elder Justin Williams will be asking himself often, at least in the near future.
With just over five minutes passing in the first period, Brett Pesce fired off a shot just outside a faceoff circle. The puck was not on course to reach the back of the net—or even Panthers goalie James Reimer—but was instead heading directly towards Williams’s face. Williams, who had just made the pass for Pesce’s shot from behind the net, did not have enough time to protect himself and took the puck straight to the cheek. Luckily for Carolina, the puck went straight down and around Reimer’s right leg for the first goal of the game.
Personally, I’d rather maintain the health of all the bones in my face, but that kind of thinking is why my NHL dreams came to an crashing halt in 2009.