NHL Linesman Derek Amell

NHL Linesman Derek Amell (Image: Dan4th Nicholas)

With over 1,000 games and 17 years in the league, NHL linesman Derek Amell has had his share of interesting on-ice moments.

Last season, he famously donned a cowboy hat that was thrown on the ice in Dallas. This year, he’s not even waiting for the regular season to make an appearance on the highlight reel.

Late in the third period of preseason game between the Detroit Red Wings and Pittsburgh Penguins, Amell saw the action coming his way. Detroit’s Tomas Tatar was headed into the offensive zone when Pittsburgh’s Blake Comeau cross-checked him awkwardly into the boards — and right into Amell. The veteran official tried to jump out of the way, but his knees made contact with Tatar’s face.

Tatar needed help to leave the ice. He did not return to the game.

“He got hammered pretty good, said it’s worse than UFC,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said after the game. “He’s going to be fine.”

“I thought it was kind of funny, because I get pushed, I saw how the ref is jumping, and I just saw the knee right in my face,” Tatar told Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press. “I think it was like UFC fighting.”

While Tatar left the game, he passed the concussion protocol and has not experienced any concussion-like symptoms.

“It’s going to take a little longer to be back because there are so many protocols that you have to pass,” Tatar told MLive’s Ansar Khan. “If there’s no protocols maybe I would come in and try to skate today, but you just can’t do that.  Hopefully I feel better tomorrow, maybe skate on my own and get the head ready for the next game. I want to play and we’ll see how I feel and hopefully I’ll pass all of the tests and I’m ready to go.”