Jujhar Khaira released from hospital with ‘excellent’ prognosis despite a ‘significant’ injury the Chicago Blackhawks forward suffered in a scary hit

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Chicago Blackhawks forward Jujhar Khaira took a scary hit to the head from New York Rangers defenseman Jacob Trouba during the Hawks’ 6-2 loss Tuesday at the United Center.

Hawks coach Derek King said after the game that Khaira was talking and “very responsive.”

On Wednesday morning, Blackhawks physician Dr. Michael Terry issued the following statement.

“Blackhawks forward Jujhar Khaira was released from Northwestern Hospital early this morning after extensive testing and returned home. Despite the significant injury, his prognosis is excellent, and we expect a full recovery. At this point, it is too early to put a timeline on return to play.”

Khaira was trying to advance the puck out of the Hawks defensive zone when Trouba hit him. Khaira fell flat on his back and lay motionless for several minutes as a skirmish broke out near center ice.

The fighting quickly stopped and Hawks teammates skated up and kneeled beside Khaira.

Players from both teams tapped sticks and fans applauded as Khaira was fitted for a collar, lifted onto a stretcher and taken off the ice.

“I think the guys felt that one a little bit, and obviously we wanted to win that one for Jujhar,” Hawks captain Jonathan Toews said.

Play was interrupted for about five minutes, and later in the period, Hawks defenseman Riley Stillman fought Trouba. Both were issued five-minute majors.

Trouba wasn’t penalized for the hit on Khaira.

The Hawks released this statement on Khaira: “After initial evaluation on the ice he was taken by ambulance to Northwestern Hospital for further testing.”

“It’s never something you want to see with any player, doesn’t matter who it is, the other team or your team,” King said. “But he’s up, he’s talking, he’s very responsive. I think he wants to get back on the ice.”

King said Khaira had undergone some tests and more will be done Wednesday. The Hawks won’t hold practice.

”We won’t know the extent of the injury until after these tests,” King said. “He’s still at the hospital right now, but he’s talking, he’s coherent. ... It’s a scary situation to see.”

Meanwhile, Hawks center Kirby Dach ended a 17-game drought with a first-period goal.

The Hawks entered the game focused on helping goaltender Marc-André Fleury achieve a milestone: his 500th career win.

“He’s a true pro,” King said before the game. “But just his quality of a person he is off the ice and on the ice, in the locker room, just the leadership he brings. He’s just a fun guy to have around.”

The Rangers seemed determined early on to spoil Fleury’s night.

Trouba scored the opening goal 1:01 into the game and ended the Hawks’ four-game streak of shutting out opponents in the first period. Fleury faced seven shots on goal in the first 6:11.

It was a horse race of a first period, with the Hawks turning up their offensive pace too.

Erik Gustafsson answered Trouba’s goal with one of his own 43 seconds later. Gustafsson was standing on the blue line when he sniped his first goal of the season.

On Dach’s goal, Dylan Strome won the offensive faceoff, and Alex DeBrincat’s attempt hit traffic and dropped in front of Dach, who flicked it to Alexandar Georgiev’s open side.

Dach’s previous goal came on the power play during the first period of a 3-2 overtime loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Oct. 27.

Former Hawk Artemi Panarin, who assisted on two goals, tied the game in the second period with a power-play goal. Panarin has three goals and four assists in two games this season against his old team.

The Rangers piled on in the third.

Chris Kreider deflected in another power-play goal to put the Rangers up 3-2, then Kevin Rooney padded the lead about six minutes later.

If Panarin’s empty-netter with 3:10 left didn’t remove all doubt, Barclay Goodrow’s goal with 1:19 remaining did.

Georgiev and Fleury each made 24 saves.

Three Hawks defensemen were scratches: Connor Murphy, who has been in concussion protocol; Jake McCabe, who has been out since the New York leg of last week’s road trip while attending to a family matter; and Caleb Jones, who was held out of the morning skate with a non-COVID-19-related illness.