Edmonton Oilers forward Sam Gagner sustained a broken jaw after being hit in the face with a stick by Vancouver Canucks forward Zack Kassian on Saturday night. Gagner's jaw was broken in two places, but will not have to be wired shut according to the Edmonton Journal.
The incident occurred in the final minutes of the second period when Kassian attempted to hit Gagner. Gagner dodged the hit, which resulted in Kassian swinging his body and his stick in the direction of the Oilers forward. The stick connected with Gagner's face and resulted in a considerable amount of damage.
Kassian was assessed a four-minute double minor for high sticking. The NHL's Department of Player Safety has requested an in-person hearing with the Vancouver forward which could result in a suspension in excess of five games.
Regardless of the NHL's final ruling, Kassian's lack of control in swinging his stick was reckless and unnecessary. Even if he had no intent to injure Gagner, he needs to have more control over his body -- and stick -- by keeping his arms down in a sequence like the one that occurred on Saturday.
For the Oilers, the injury to Gagner creates a void as he will be out indefinitely with the injury. The club has expressed a desire to get tougher, but whether this situation will intensify that desire remains to be seen.