Monday, November 29, 2010

Aaron Volpatti Crushes Mitch Wahl; It is Decidedly Not Awesome

It's not the best quality video, but this hit on the Mitch Wahl was perhaps the scariest moment of Saturday's game between the Manitoba Moose and Abbotsford Heat. Wahl comes across the offensive zone and takes a shot, but he spends a fraction of a second too long watching the puck. In that time, Moose forward and Canucks prospect Aaron Volpatti catches him with a devastating open-ice hit (on the right side of the screen).

Volpatti is immediately challenged by Heat defenseman Joe Piskula. Unfortunately for Piskula, Volpatti is good at fighting; preliminary observations indicate Piskula is not.

I was at this game, and the hit was a particularly scary moment. Wahl didn't move for quite some time, and was eventually stretchered off the ice. After removing him to the ambulance, the ice crew scraped away a large pool of dried blood.

The only good news was that the stretcher didn't leave the arena right away, indicating Wahl's injury wasn't as serious as it initially looked.

According to Cam Tucker's Twitter account, Heat coach Jim Playfair said today that Wahl suffered a cracked cheekbone and a cut on his eye, and may require surgery. Playfair also said the hit wasn't malicious or dirty.

But who cares about the legality of the hit? The real issue is that a guy was left motionless on the ice, bleeding from the head. Delivered within the rules or otherwise, head injuries are a do-not-want situation. It's a damn shame when something like this happens.

PITB's sentiments are with Mitch Wahl. Here's to a full recovery.


  1. u know the hit was big when i sympathize with flames fans. clean hit and great fight for volpatti otherwise tho. guy looks like he might be a good bottom 6 NHLer with some work. hope wahl recovers quickly

  2. it sucks when a player old or young gets taken out like that but I can't help but feel this would be a high light similar to Mitchells hit on Toews if it was in the NHL

  3. It is a highlight reel hit. But the end result is not something anybody wants. Is it a great, legal hit? Yes. Is the consequence of the hit incredibly unfortunate and something to be avoided if at all possible? Yes.

    I really hope that Wahl is okay.

  4. I also hope that Wahl is OK but I see no malice in the hit.

    I mean ...damn...the kid got nailed, but if you ask me after watching the replay a couple of times it seems Volpatti actually held back a bit knowing he was "blindsiding" another player.

    It's not as if the fellow could stop his momentum in two seconds, I don't think it was a dirty hit and quite likely the injury was a result of the impact of face on ice.

    Scary stuff though. I don't like to see anyone get hurt.

  5. I completely agree. There's no malice or intent there on Volpatti's part.

  6. Having been at the game myself (and sitting a row in front of you Harrison, garnering me a "far" better view), I'm curious if the extent of those injuries were the result of Wahl hitting the ice face first? I don't believe that Volpatti contacted his head at all (though the replays I've seen aren't all that clear).

    Definitely scary though - don't want to see something like that ever.

  7. Yeah, I'm not sure. This isn't the best angle on the hit.

    Full disclosure: I envied your superior vantage point all night.


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