Thoughts on Phaneuf's monster hit 

September, 18, 2009

Ouch! That's about all I can say after viewing the YouTube video of Dion Phaneuf's monster open-ice hit on Islanders winger Kyle Okposo during Thursday night's Isles-Flames preseason game in Calgary.

In a Scott Stevens moment, Phaneuf slid over from his position on right defense to crunch an unsuspecting Okposo, who'd actually been nudged into harm's way by backchecking Flames forward Nigel Dawes. The seismic blow left the 6-foot-1, 200-pound forward crumpled on the ice in need of medical attention. As a precaution, Okposo was taken off the ice on a stretcher. Late Thursday night, Islanders spokesman Seth Sylvan updated Okposo's condition via text message, saying: "[Okposo] had a mild concussion. He'd undergone a CAT scan and he was cleared to return to the team's training camp [in] Saskatoon."

We hope Okposo will be no worse for the wear after the mind-numbing hit. With head injuries, it's hard to form a clear prognosis for recovery. It could be a day or a career. In this case, we hope it's the former.

To see what Hradek thinks about Phaneuf's rattling hit, plus his thoughts on the preseason and a forecast of what's to come for Saturday's Isles-Flames matchup, you must be an ESPN Insider. Insider

E.J. Hradek

Senior Writer, ESPN The Magazine
E.J. Hradek is a senior writer at ESPN The Magazine, joining the staff prior to its launch in 1998. He began covering hockey as a writer/editor for Hockey Illustrated in 1989.