Athanasiou crashed into Läck on the play and the Carolina Hurricanes goalie, who missed significant stretches of the NHL season with concussions, was attended to on the ice for more than 15 minutes as both teams and the crowd in Raleigh, North Carolina, watched in silence.
He was taken off on a stretcher and on to hospital for evaluation, giving a thumbs-up sign as he was carried off the ice.
The moment Athanasiou crashed into Läck. Photo: AP Photo/Gerry Broome
The Hurricanes later released a statement saying Läck was undergoing tests but had full feeling in his extremities.
“I did see it,” Carolina coach Bill Peters said when asked about the replay. “[Athanasiou] obviously went into the net hard, and there was a little shot to the head there at the end of the play and that's where the problem lies right now.”
Athanasiou said he hadn't even realized he had hit Läck as he scored the goal that gave the Red Wings a 4-3 victory.
“I had a tight angle there, so I just tried to drive the net and I'm fortunate it worked out,” he said. “You never want to see a player go down like that and go on a stretcher. I hope he's okay. I had no idea I hit him.”