DETROIT Steve Yzerman had a few encouraging words for his team after the second period of Saturdays Game 5 of a Western Conference semifinal series.
But it wasnt enough to spur a comeback victory, and it hardly softened the blow of his loss. He left for Henry Ford Hospital soon after he spoke.
Yzerman had a bandage over his left eye, injured midway through the game when a slap shot by teammate Schneider deflected off the leg of Calgary defenseman Rhett Warrener and hit Yzerman in the face as he was skating behind the net.
Yzerman, who doesnt wear a protective visor on his helmet, immediately raised his hands to cover the eye and flopped to the ice writhing in pain. He was helped off to the dressing room by trainer Piet Van Zant and Shanahan and later was taken for X-rays on a possible fractured cheek or orbital bone.
There was no further word on his condition Saturday night, but the team expects Yzerman might be lost for the rest of the series, and almost certainly for Mondays Game 6.
When you saw him lying there, you knew it wasnt good, Draper said. Thats a big loss. Not only are we in a do-or-die situation, but were going into this without one of the greatest leaders ever to play this sport.