Catching a hockey stick to the face would've been plenty to ruin Zach Parise's night.
Somehow, it got worse after that.
During the first period of the Wild's Tuesday night game against the Washington Capitals, Parise skated through center ice, crossing paths with the Capitals' Tom Wilson. For some reason, Wilson decided this would be a good time to lift the business end of his stick in the air, putting it right into Parise's face.
The Wild winger and Minnesota native crumpled to the ice instantly, blinded, and sliding along with no control. As bad luck would have it, his path took him right into the Capitals' Jay Beagle, who laid a punishing hip check on the already-injured Parise's head.
Parise stayed face down for some time after the stick-and-collision moment, had to be helped off the ice, and didn't return.
The Wild went on to lose 5-4 in overtime, dropping their record to 1-7-2 in their last 10 games. In his post-game press conference, Minnesota coach (and this morning's City Pages cover story subject) Bruce Boudreau said he'd been told Parise's eye was swollen, and -- in the classically vague parlance of the National Hockey League -- said the second hit Parise took had resulted in an "upper-body injury."
If vigilante justice is your thing, Wild tough guy Chris Stewart tracked Wilson down just minutes later and dropped the gloves for a short fight. Stewart lost his balance almost immediately, bringing Wilson down with him. Stewart continue punching furiously after they fell. That's not usually how fights work in the NHL.
Then again, it's not often a player watches his teammate get an eye gouged by a hockey stick.