The Winnipeg Jets announced on Wednesday that Bryan Little “is in good spirits this morning” after taking a puck to the head in Tuesday’s game against the New Jersey Devils.
During the third period, Little was skating around the net with just over 12 minutes remaining when his teammate Nikolaj Ehlers stepped into the puck sending his rising slapshot high and wide and hitting Little near his left ear. He was seen bleeding from his head but was able to skate off under his own power. Winnipeg stated that he was transported to the hospital after the game and “received 25-30 stitches to close a laceration” and was moved to the neurological unit for observation.
Little, 31, started off the season on concussion protocol following a hit from Minnesota’s Luke Kunin in the Jets’ last preseason game on Sept. 29. He was placed on injured reserve on Oct. 8 and missed the team’s first nine games before returning Oct. 20 in Winnipeg’s 1-0 shootout win against the Edmonton Oilers.
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Speaking to reporters prior to his return on October, Little acknowledged that he has dealt with concussions previously back in 2010 or 2011.
“I feel like I’ve had a few and they’ve all been different in their own way,” he said, per The Athletic’s Ken Wiebe. “This one, I didn’t feel that bad at first, I actually was thinking about trying to get back in the game when it happened. Thankfully, I didn’t. It’s been a bit slower than I would have thought. But every player’s different.”
A native of Edmonton, Little has five points (two goals, three assists) in seven games this season. Drafted 12th overall by the then-Atlanta Thrashers, he has spent his entire career with the organization, collecting 521 points (217 goals, 304 assists) in 843 games.
Winnipeg stated they will have further updates when available. His loss would leave a big gap at center for the team, which already has center Mark Letestu (myocarditis), right winger Mason Appleton (lower body) and defenseman Nathan Beaulieu (upper body) on injured reserve and Dustin Byfuglien suspended.
The Jets next game is Friday when they host the Vancouver Canucks at 8 p.m. ET.
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