Wagner suffers upper-body injury on Karlsson hit, does not return - LA Kings Insider

During Los Angeles’ 3-2 overtime win at San Jose on Saturday, forward Austin Wagner was was woozy and in pain after this second period Erik Karlsson hit:

After retreating to the bench, Wagner soon returned to the dressing room and did not rejoin his teammates over the remainder of the game; a Kings representative shared that he had suffered an upper-body injury and was not expected to return. Prior to Saturday, Wagner had been healthy in his pro career since undergoing June, 2017 shoulder surgery to repair a torn labrum and dislocated bicep tendon that he had played through in the WHL Playoffs that spring.

The 21-year-old Wagner, who registered two hits on seven shifts before leaving the game, has three goals and seven points in 24 games in his rookie season.

There doesn’t seem to be firm, rock-solid consensus on whether this hit will draw supplemental discipline. Karlsson hits high, above the core, and makes head contact, but is the head the principal point of contact? (There is obviously deeper criteria to balance in such a multi-dimensional evaluation.) During a mid-game glance, this seemed less likely to draw supplemental discipline than Pierre-Edouard Bellemare’s high hit on Kyle Clifford two weeks ago that went un-penalized and didn’t draw as much as a fine from from the Department of Player Safety. LA Kings television color commentator Jim Fox was situated between the benches as an analyst on NBCSN’s broadcast, and this is how he saw it:

UPDATE, via NHL Player Safety:

“It’s easier for me once I’ve watched the video,” said Willie Desjardins, who hadn’t yet spoken to the team’s medical staff to determine whether Wagner would continue with the team to Las Vegas or return home. “He got him in the head. Did he get the shoulder first? I don’t know. But, he did his head, though.”

Because San Jose plays at home on Sunday, there will be a quicker verdict here. Now in his 10th NHL season, Karlsson was fined $2,500 for slashing Florida’s Sean Bergenheim in the 2011-12 season but has never been suspended.

Here’s to hoping Wagner is OK after suffering what appeared to be a head injury. After Saturday’s game, Los Angeles has now lost 154 man-games to injury. Prior to the game, Dion Phaneuf (upper-body) was placed on injured reserve – joining Trevor Lewis (fractured foot), Alec Martinez (upper-body), Carl Hagelin (MCL sprain) and Jonny Brodzinski (shoulder surgery) – when Ilya Kovalchuk (bursectomy) was activated.

–Lead photo via Harry How/Getty Images

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