Former Saint John Sea Dogs captain Alex Grant was involved in a scary incident yesterday afternoon. The Pittsburgh Penguins prospect was playing in the first rookie game at an NHL-mini tournament held annually in London, Ontario.
The Pens rookies would win the game 5-3 over the Ottawa Senators, but Grant was carried off on a stretcher after a nasty looking hit took place in the early part of the first period.
“But while the Penguins went home happy with the result, they did so with heavy hearts following a horrific injury early in the first period,” reports Hockey’s Future. “Alex Grant was taken to a local hospital after a scary incident in their own end. Grant was propelled into the boards head-first by David Dziurzynski, who received a five-minute major and a game misconduct for this actions. Grant lay face down on the ice, immobile, for 10 minutes as trainers and medical staff worked on him. He was carefully rolled onto a stretcher, his head and neck immobilized, and wheeled off the ice. There was no sign of movement from any part of Grant’s body or extremities. The Penguins stated that Grant was being held at the hospital for observation and will provide a statement Sunday to update the blueliner’s status.”
According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Grant is being examined for possible neck, back, and wrist injuries.
Penguins General Manager Ray Shero added that, while the results of those tests still are not known, the way Grant was handled on the ice, as well as the examinations he received, were primarily "a precaution."
At this time, Grant status is still unknown. Along with Hockey’s Future, several media sources have stated that the Penguins are expected to release some information on Grant sometime today.
Eric P. of the Wilkes-Blog has video of the hit. It can be seen at the 50 second mark of this video:
Now 21, Grant was drafted by Pittsburgh in the fourth round of the 2007 NHL Entry Draft. The 2005 first overall pick in the QMJHL Entry Draft was battling for a roster spot on the AHL’s Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.
Two of Grant’s QMJHL teammates are playing with the Pens rookies. Current Sea Dog Simon Despres played with the offensive defenseman in 2007-08 and part of the 2008-09 season. After being traded to Shawinigan at the 2009 holiday trading period, Grant played with Nicholas Petersen.
With Shawinigan in 2009, Grant and Petersen played against Mike Hoffman and Drummondville Voltigeurs. It was in that series that Chris DiDomenico severely injured his leg by going feet first into the boards.
The Penguins rookies return to action tonight against the Toronto Maple Leaf rookies.