NHL player stretchered off the ice in ‘traumatic’ scene during first game back from injury: 'Tough to watch'


Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Mikhail Sergachev was taken off the ice on a stretcher during Wednesday night’s game against the New York Rangers after sustaining an apparent leg injury following a collision on the ice. 

The heartbreaking injury came during Sergachev’s first game back after missing 17 games with a previous leg injury sustained on Dec. 17. 

Mikhail Sergachev, #98 of the Tampa Bay Lightning, lies on the ice after an injury during the second period against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on Feb. 7, 2024 in New York City. (Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

“Super tough. Sergei in his first game back to see him in such pain,″ Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman said. “You pray for the best, but obviously it’s not looking great.”

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The incident came nearly halfway through the second period, when Rangers forward Alexis Lafreniere attempted a reverse hit on Sergachev, who was approaching him near the boards. 

The 25-year-old went down in pain after his left knee appeared to bend at an awkward angle. 

“You feel sick to your stomach,” Tampa Bay captain Steven Stamkos said in the locker room after the game. “Obviously, Sergei’s put in a lot of time and effort to come back from his original injury and then to see something pretty traumatic like that happen is – from someone who’s been through that – it’s tough to watch.” 

A stretcher brought out for Mikhail Sergachev

A stretcher comes out onto the ice to help Mikhail Sergachev, #98 of the Tampa Bay Lightning, after an injury in the second period against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on Feb. 7, 2024 in New York City. (Jared Silber/NHLI via Getty Images)

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Players from both teams left their benches to surround Sergachev as he was taken off the ice. 

Sergachev shared a message with fans on Instagram early Thursday morning sharing his devastation, but added that he will “come back stronger.” 

“Oh man, why me? Why now? After all the games missed, coming back and getting injured again, feels unfair, feels terrible. Trying to stay calm and positive, but it’s impossible,” he wrote in his post. 

Mikhail Sergachev is treated on the ice

Tampa Bay Lightning Defenseman Mikhail Sergachev, #98, is treated for an injury during the second period of the National Hockey League game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the New York Rangers on Feb. 7, 2024 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. (Joshua Sarner/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

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“After doing everything right I get this. The universe is unpredictable I guess, and has its own plans, but f— the universe man, I know I’ll come back stronger and I know I’ll play better than before, but it’s tough right now, and it’s gonna be tough tomorrow. We all fight our own battles and this is mine. I’ll win, always do.” 

Lightning head coach Jon Cooper called the injury “terrible,” but would not say if the injury would be season-ending. 

“I don’t know, let’s not think that way.” 

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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