The Montreal Canadiens faced a scary situation last night in their NHL Rookie Showdown game against the Ottawa Senators’ prospects. First-year pro Jake Evans suffered a frightening injury after a hard hit and awkward fall late in the third period. (video) Evans was decked by defenseman Jonathan Aspirot, a Senators camp invitee, while trying to enter the offensive zone and lay motionless for some time after the check. Evans was stretchered off the ice and taken to a nearby hospital.
The first update on Evans’ condition came late last night, when the Canadiens revealed that he had arrived at the hospital and was conscious and moving his limbs. Just this small amount of news came as a major relief, as the promising prospect had avoided any sort of serious brain or spinal trauma. Montreal then announced this morning that Evans had been released from the hospital and was back in Brossard, the location of the team’s practice complex. Evans will undergo treatment for the injury and has entered the league’s concussion protocol.
While Evans’ recovery likely means that his chances of winning a spot on the NHL roster to begin the season are gone, the good news is that his quick turnaround implies that he avoided serious injury and should be healthy for the bulk of the coming season. A four-year starter at the University of Notre Dame, as the captain and team’s leading scorer last season, Evans has already greatly outpaced his seventh-round draft slot from 2014. He may not have won a spot even if he had avoided last night’s injury, but the skilled center will push for play time soon enough regardless. The Habs and their fans – as well as the rest of the hockey world – are just glad that a talented young player avoided serious injury.