Saturday’s game between the Dallas Stars and Chicago Blackhawks was a frightening scene for all involved, and for Joe Pavelski, it conjured up memories of the worst moment of his career.
Stars forward Tanner Kero was stretchered off the ice during the first period after getting hit by Blackhawks forward Brett Connolly. Kero, who hadn't touched the puck for several seconds before getting hit, didn’t see Connolly coming, and crashed to the ice with violent force.
Kero was later transported to a local hospital and the Stars stated that he was conscious. It was a jarring incident as Kero laid on the ice for several minutes.
Pavelski, who suffered a head injury during the 2019 playoffs after getting taken down by Vegas Golden Knights forward Cody Eakin, was reminded on Saturday evening of that harrowing memory.
An emotional Joe Pavelski speaking on the Tanner Kero incident. Gave him flashbacks of his scary injury in the 2019 Playoffs. pic.twitter.com/Fr64IPUSaK
— Brady Trettenero (@BradyTrett) December 19, 2021
"It's terrible," Pavelski said, fighting back tears. "I've been there before. My teammates rallied around me that night. Tanner is awesome. He's soft-spoken, but he shows up and works hard. He doesn't miss a day. When he gets called on to play, he shows up and makes sure to play. He plays hard. He's a great teammate. I heard he's doing all right.
"This win is definitely for him. You just say your prayers and wish for a speedy recovery."
Connolly was issued a five-minute major for interference on the play, as well as a game misconduct. The NHL's Department of Player Safety also gave him a four-game suspension for his actions.
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