The Pittsburgh Penguins coach Mike Sullivan announced that rookie Zach Aston-Reese will be out the rest of the playoffs. Aston-Reese will require surgery after being injured in game three of the Penguins second-round series with the Washington Capitals.
Coach Sullivan confirms that as a result of the Tom Wilson hit in the 2nd period, Zach Aston-Reese has a broken jaw that will require surgery as well as a concussion.
— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) May 2, 2018
Zach Aston-Reese Injured
The injury occurred during Tuesday’s game against the rival Capitals. It was a high-intensity game for both teams, with the series tied at one game apiece.
With just over ten minutes left in the second-period, Aston-Reese carried the puck along the boards next to the Capitals bench and received a hit from Capitals winger Tom Wilson. This resulted in Aston-Reese bloodied on the ice and Wilson propelled into the Capitals bench. The young rookie did not return. Wilson received no on-ice penalty for the hit.
In the regular season, Aston-Reece played 16 games, scoring four goals and 2 assists for six points. His possession numbers were 49.2 percent Corsi and a relative Corsi of -2.5.
The New York native joined the Penguins this season after spending time playing for Northeastern University. At Northeastern, Aston-Reese amassed an impressive 31 goals, 32 assists totalling 63 points. Aston-Reese also has recently spent some time with Penguins Affiliate team Scranton Penguins.
Sullivan discussed the hit in a post-game interview “We lose a guy to a broken jaw that’s going to require surgery and a concussion because of another high hit to the head,” Sullivan said. “At some point, we would hope that the league might do something.”
The Penguins were obviously upset by referees decision to not penalize Wilson on the play. Still, Wilson will have to wait for the department of player safety to review the hit and decided if it warrants any further action.
This is the second hit by Wilson that has resulted in an injury to the Penguins in this series. In game two, he hit defencemen Brian Dumoulin, who could not return to the game. The hit was also seen as questionable. Wilson did not receive a penalty, nor did he receive any supplemental discipline from the DOPS.
What This Means for the Future
Zach Aston-Reese was a bottom six forward, and may not have a vital impact directly in game four or the series. Still, it is a sad way for the young forwards first year to end.
With the Social Media frenzy regarding Wilson continuing, it does mean that tensions will be fever pitched in game four on Thursday night in Pittsburgh. Regardless of the DOPS decision, the Penguins will be looking to draw even in the series.
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