There are two ways to use your head in this sport: in a "hockey IQ," spatial awareness kind of way, or by getting a puck blasted off of your skull and into the back of the net to score an equalizing goal.
Philadelphia Flyers winger James van Riemsdyk did the latter. The painful, painful latter.
During Thursday night’s contest against the New York Rangers, the veteran goalscorer known for being a net-front nuisance, just happened to be in his usual spot. Except this time, a black rubber projectile was shot very hard off the side of his face instead of the blade of his stick.
Clutching his head as he crumbled towards the ice, van Riemsdyk was most likely unaware he just earned the Flyers the 1-1 tie. After the game, he told the media he was “shocked” when the puck struck him, and was grateful he’s had some general luck in terms of always being in the line of fire.
Head coach Alain Vigneault confirmed that x-rays came back negative before JVR returned to the ice.
After contributing a tally with his melon, van Riemsdyk decided to actually score a goal, on purpose, with his stick, from the same area.
The forward’s 16th goal of the season gave the Flyers the lead with his typical deflection on the powerplay.
A series of events that you can only really theorize over dirty, clouded beers in the middle of a game became real with van Riemsdyk’s tallies earned in completely opposite ways. A what-if scenario that grew a highlight out of a lowlight.
The Flyers still sit outside of the playoffs, no matter how many face goals they get, with a 21-18-7 record earning them the sixth spot in the West Division.
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