Sometimes hockey players try to tough things out at great risk to themselves and to their team. That may have been the case when Minnesota Wild goalie Darcy Kuemper . He left Game 7 with an apparent injury after giving up the go-ahead goal to Colorado Avalanche defenseman Erik Johnson.
The questions would seem to be when Kuemper was injured and if he should have been in the net at all at that point.
After a net-mouth scramble, Kuemper looked out of sorts and gave up Johnson's goal on a long shot from the center of the point. He had looked slow in his ability to react on the goal Paul Stastny scored early in the period as well.
There was a lot of traffic in front of Kuemper all night and he also took a bit of a hit behind the net, hitting his head on defenseman Ryan Suter on the way down in the second period. Here's a GIF of the incident via @myregularface:
The two goals Kuemper gave up in the third period were fairly soft from distance. He didn't look comfortable out there and after Johnson scored, Suter actually seemed to be urging Kuemper to head to the bench.
Ilya Bryzgalov came on in relief of Kuemper after the goal, who went straight to the dressing room.
It would be unfair to assume Kuemper was concussed on the play (or any other over the course of the game), but that's undoubtedly going to be the speculation. That is going to call into question whether or not he should have stayed in the game. If there was any inclination that Kuemper was banged up in the dressing room between the second and third period, one has to wonder why he was allowed to be sent back in or why he decided he was fit to play.
Temporarily, the injury's impact will be overshadowed by the game itself. Jared Spurgeon scored a late tying goal to send the game to overtime, taking Kuemper off the hook a bit and putting the rest on Bryzgalov's shoulders.
This is going to be an interesting topic when and if an injury report on Kuemper ever becomes public. Depending on the result of the game, it may be some time before anything is revealed.
Should the Wild advance, their previously solved goaltending concerns are in flux once again, putting the onus on Bryzgalov to take over the net he was pulled from early in the series.
This will be a situation worth monitoring regardless of the final result of this game.