Phil Paquet emerges from the Fife Flyers dressing room carrying the look of a man who has been in a car crash.
Bruises on his face, stitches in his chin, and several broken teeth are the result of a dangerous hit from Ross Venus during Saturday’s match at Fife Ice Arena.
The Coventry Blaze man charged into the Flyer at speed while he was pinned against the plexi-glass, catching him across the head, leaving the defenceman dazed and bloodied.
Paquet, who had earlier scored a rare double short-handed goal, told the Press: “I was blind-sided and didn’t really see the guy coming.
“I felt woozy, and the next thing I know I’ve got missing teeth and couple of stitches in my chin.
“I felt alright enough to come back and play the next game, so thankfully it’s not too bad.”
No penalty was called on the night by referee Alan Craig but DOPS handed out a match penalty, and one match ban, after Flyers submitted a request for the hit to be reviewed.
Speaking before DOPS announcement, Paquet said: “I talked to the ref right after it and he said he didn’t see it, and didn’t think it was that bad.
“But if you look at the replay it’s all head - he didn’t get any of the body.
“He went out of his way to make that check so we’ll see what the review says, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets a game or two.
“It was a dangerous check to the head so it should be a suspension.”
Paquet returned to the ice for the following night’s match away to Manchester Storm but he admitted he was fortunate to avoid a concussion.
“It’s a touchy situation when you don’t know if you have a concussion,” he said.
“I woke up fine on Sunday, although on the bus ride down I was a bit iffy at times, but as soon as I got on the ice I felt fine.
“I talked to the coaches, and we monitored the situation closely, and there was no problem.
“I’ve been lucky over the course of my career. Some guys respond to concussions differently, and I seem to have dealt with hits to the head better than some other guys - or I got luckier.
“You don’t always know what a concussion is. It just comes down to symptoms and if you feel fine, you’re not out of balance and don’t have a head ache, then you should be good to go.”
Paquet will continue to be monitored this week by Flyers medical staff before a decision is made on whether he will face Braehead Clan on Saturday in what promises to be a physical encounter.
“They completely dominated us the last weekend we played against them,” Paquet admitted.
“I think we’re a changed team though. We have that confidence going now but we’ll have to definitely step up more than last time we played against them.
“It’s going to be a physical game and we have to show up physically if want to be in that game - otherwise they’ll just roll over us again.
“It’s important we make a stance and establish our physicality early and send a message that’s it going to be a battle for them too.
“Last time they neutralised us and maybe even intimidated us - so we have to respond.
“We have to play like we did against Coventry for the first two periods with our fore-check. That’s the key for us to have success.”