On Monday, the Hurricanes defeated Florida by the score of 4-3. They won the game, but they appear to have lost Erik Cole.
Cory Stillman scored two freakish goals including one from beyond center ice and one from below the goal line. Viva scored the other two goals. Stumpel, Weiss and Booth all scored for the Kitties.
Although the end result was good, The Sliding Pokecheck and I agreed via IM that the outcome of the game wasn't important after seeing Erik Cole lie motionless on the ice for several minutes.
With 7:26 remaining in the third, and the score tied 3-3, Cole was driving to the net, and was knocked down by Jassen Cullimore. Cole went down, and slid head-first into Vokoun. There will be some who will say that Cullimore held Cole, or "dragged him down". He did use his free hand a tiny bit, but I don't think there was anything wrong with what he did. The contact, and the resulting collision with the goaltender were just unfortunate.
Cole lay motionless for several minutes while members of both teams' training staffs tended to him. Right away, he was wiggling his fingers on both hands, moving his feet, but he wasn't really moving. Given his injury history, it was encouraging that he had movement in his extremities, but very frightening nonetheless.
After what must have been seven minutes, Cole was removed from the ice on a stretcher. Kudos to the Florida Panthers training staff, to their players and fans for expressing concern. Kudos to the organ player in the arena for having the courtesy to keep quiet. I've commented about this kind of thing before, and I'll say every time that a time like that is one where everyone needs to forget about which team they root for, and just worry about the health and well-being of the player. Kudos also to referee Mick McGeough for assisting the EMT crews.
According to preliminary reports, he was taken to a nearby hospital, but not immediately. That is another bit of encouraging news.
We won't know anything for at least 12 hours, and I won't know anything for at least 20, but we're obviously wishing the best for Erik Cole. Now is not the time to moan about how unjust the injury gods are.
If there is a bright side, it is that Andrew Ladd has been penciled in for a return to the lineup on Wednesday. Still, I'm sure that the team will recall Keith Aucoin from Albany for the game against the Bolts.
With two assists, Ray Whitney extended his scoring streak to 10 games.
This was Peter Laviolette's 200th win as a head coach. That's a nice accomplishment, but honestly, he couldn't possibly care less right now.
I will make every effort to update the known status of Cole. At this point, just as was the case on March 5 2006, we're just hoping that Erik (the man) is okay. Erik (the hockey player) is second.
UPDATE : 12:46 pm Very good early news. Cole has been released from the Cleveland Clinic and cleared to fly with the team to Tampa. CT Scans were negative. I guess he'll be held out of the lineup even if he is cleared to play. The important thing is that he's okay.
4 years ago