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‘It’s tough to talk about’: When a routine hockey play results in a scary injury

Philadelphia Flyers’ Scott Laughton is taken off the ice after crashing into the boards during Game 4. (Matt Slocum/Associated Press)
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PHILADELPHIA — John Carlson took a deep breath and shook his head. His hit on Philadelphia Flyers forward Scott Laughton caused Laughton to lose an edge and crash hard into the boards with his back. Now, he was struggling to reconcile a legal check and routine hockey play with an action that led to Laughton being carried off the ice on a stretcher.

The Flyers announced he was taken to a nearby hospital and will stay there overnight for precautionary reasons. They also said that all tests are negative.

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“It’s tough to talk about,” Carlson said. “You never want to see that happen. It’s just one of those plays that you feel like you do a lot in a game, and it just never ends up like that. I feel for him, and I hope he’s fine. But I don’t know — I’m not going to let him walk to the net.”

Said goaltender Braden Holtby: “I saw kind of when he was battling with Carlson there. He just kind of slipped and I heard him hit the boards pretty hard and noticed he didn’t move so it was a scary thing. We really hope as a hockey club that he’s all right. We send him our well-being. You never want to see that as a hockey player, and hopefully he’s fine.”

Capitals Coach Barry Trotz called it “a clean hockey play that sort of goes bad once in a while.”

“You hit those boards at 30 miles per hour, it shakes you up pretty good,” Trotz said. “The first thing is you look for movement, and we saw a little bit of movement early and then he stayed still, which is probably the best thing. On our bench, we have concern. … It’s unfortunate those things happen. Guys get tangled up, guys lose an edge going to the boards, and those things are the dangers of our game.”

On Monday night, a hit from behind by Pierre-Edouard Bellemare could have dealt Capitals defenseman Dmitry Orlov a serious head or neck injury when he was checked into the boards. He was lucky he walked away with just cuts and bruises on his face, and Bellemare was suspended Game 4 for the hit. Earlier in Game 3, defenseman Brooks Orpik left the game with an upper-body injury after he made contact with the glass on a hit by Ryan White.

After center Sean Couturier suffered an upper-body injury in Game 1 of the series, Laughton cracked the Flyers lineup. The 21-year-old played 71 games for Philadelphia this season, scoring seven goals and 14 assists, but he hadn’t recorded a point in this series. There was concern for Laughton in both locker rooms after the game.

“We definitely hope the best for him,” T.J. Oshie said. “It’s scary. I personally had a sick feeling in my stomach. For the most part, a lot of guys in this league have a lot of respect for each other, and you never like seeing a guy go down like that.”

Said Philadelphia’s Wayne Simmonds: “It’s extremely tough when you see a teammate go down. We’re a family here so we’re really worried about Scott, but the best thing we could do was go out there and get that win for him. We’ll check on him now. Hopefully he’s all right. He was moving a little bit there so that’s a good sign.”