Daniel Winnik of the Washington Capitals earns his living mostly through being a penalty killer, a position that requires forwards to sacrifice their bodies in an effort to block shots. During a game against the Florida Panthers on Thursday night, Winnik literally gave up part of his body midway through the third period.
Winnik sprawled to the ice to negate an attempt from the Panthers’ Reilly Smith and was able to slightly deflect the puck. However, he did so with the side of his head and according to Capitals coach Barry Trotz, it cost Winnik a piece of his ear.
The block helped protect a 3-2 lead the Capitals would hold for the win, so in a way, it was worth it. In another way, though, hockey is an insane sport that requires people to get in front of 90 mph slap shots with their craniums sometimes. At the very least, this puts Winnik one step closer to Vincent van Gough in the ear rankings, a prestigious honor held only by the folks willing to give up their ears for their craft. Evander Holyfield is also a card-carrying member, and every once in awhile he hosts a book club in his garage.