The Columbus Blue Jackets didn’t just lose their season-opener to the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday; they will probably have to do without defenseman Zach Werenski, who had to leave the game with a knee injury for a while.
Werenski probably won’t be out long-term, but watching him getting helped off the ice with two teammates by his side was still tough.
Werenski took a knee-on-knee hit from Flyers forward Garnet Hathaway 14:22 into the first period. Werenski only played 13 games last season, and that’s why so many teammates and fans held their breath when he went down after yesterday’s collision.
“It was really tough to see,” Blue Jackets captain Boone Jenner said per NHL.com. “I’m not sure how he’s doing, but [he’s] a big piece here. He worked his [tail] off last year to get back to be with us, and it’s tough to see him going down, but hopefully he bounces back quick.”
Garnet Hathaway was only assessed a two-minute minor for kneeing, but many thought he deserved a harsher penalty. Werenski’s teammate Erik Gudbranson was absolutely furious and didn’t hesitate to say what he felt.
“It was f*cking dirty,” he said, per The Athletic’s Aaron Portzline.
Hathaway initially received a major penalty for the kneeing, but after video review, it was reduced. And fans on social media didn’t like it.
”Way late, and sticks out his knee too. How do you review this and reverse it from a major to a minor?” One said.
”That’s a sh*tbag hit right there,” another said.
”That should absolutely be a suspension. What a bullsh*t hit,” a third added.