William Nylander victim of dirty blindside hit in 2016 WJC debut

While everybody was excited to see William Nylander rip up the world juniors, there was some concern that his high-profile status would make him a physical target for the opposition. Those fears were confirmed, as the 19-year-old took a blindside hit to the head late in the first period.


The hit came from Chris Egli, an undrafted prospect in the HC Davos organization. Interestingly enough, this wasn’t even Switzerland’s first game misconduct of the period, as Fabian Heldner was also thrown out of the game for a check to the head/neck.

There wasn’t really much Nylander could do on this play. Breaking down the hit frame by frame, his head is up the entire time, with his eyes only going down for a blink once the puck is received. Egli comes from the blind side and hits him in a vulnerable position.

After the hit, Nylander headed straight to the Swedish dressing room. Though an intermission and half a period has passed, the Leafs’ blue-chip prospect has yet to return.


Nylander, who was on a line with his brother Alex and fellow Leafs prospect Dmytro Timashov, scored his first goal of the tournament just 81 seconds into the game. Timashov has since followed with two goals of his own, as the Swedes current lead 5-2. Given the score and the situation (a Swiss player just hit Adrian Kempe from behind as in the midst of this sentence), one would suspect that we won’t see Nylander for the rest of the night.

UPDATE: Some not so great, if not fully confirmed news coming from Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston..


  • MatsSundin#13

    IF they took him to the hospital, that is very bad news. He’s probably out for at least the rest of the games. Maybe it’s good news. They actually send to be examined by medical professionals at a hospital with MRI’s and such instead of a trainer in a darkened room, like they do here. We still have Dmytroooo, and if we play our cards right, we can draft Alex!

  • MatsSundin#13

    Looked like a pretty clean hit. My lander leans his head forward as he is being hit causing some contact to head. Primary contact looks to be shoulder to shoulder. That hit is going to happen in any league in North America. Peripheral vision of this player seems to be lacking, his own player did nothing to try divert Swiss player. Hope he will be OK and learn from his mistake.

      • MatsSundin#13

        He clearly is if he honestly thinks that was a clean hit. I would have liked for Nylander not to put himself in that position and to have been more aware, but there was nothing clean about that hit, direct contact with the head from the blind side. Aaah! It’s so bad we’re all feeding the troll!

  • MatsSundin#13

    Like Ferraro said many times since the incident, Nylander was definitely looking at the puck, regardless of how “up” his head appears to be on tv.
    The play was right in front of Ferraro – he had the best perspective.
    When I saw it happen live, I thought he was looking at the puck too. It was more than just a blink.

    Having said that, it was still a dirty hit. He came from he blindside and didn’t let up at all on a vulnerable player. So even though Willy can’t be looking at the puck in a dangerous spot like that, the onus is on the attacker to “remove the player from the puck”… not destroy him. Unfortunately, he chose the latter.

  • MatsSundin#13

    garbage f**king hit!! unbelievable how that team hit THREE swedes in the head!! suspend them. no place in any sport for those dirty, illegal hits. sickening. i hope willy is ok… very concerning.

  • MatsSundin#13

    This suspension is wrong…..nothing wrong with the hit. Blindside means player couldn’t see hit coming….Nylander had his head down looking at puck for a long time with Swiss player in his view if he had his head up. Nylander chose to put himself in a vulnerable position. If a player has the puck and chooses to keep his head down the entire time, does this mean you can’t hit him? You could end to end all the time if you were a good puck handler! If you want to blame anything, blame today’s shoulder and elbow pads – which are the real weapons that cause injury! Gotta hurt almost as much to give a hit as to get one….but with today’s football style battle armour, definitely not the case. Go back to smaller, soft capped shoulder pads a la 1970’s 80’s and see concussions drop like the Leafs in the spring…..sorry couldn’t resist!