Here’s a sign of how much careful the NHL and it’s teams are being regarding concussions and head injuries. It used to be that a hockey player would take a bad head shot, get knocked in a fight, wait until the fog cleared a bit and returned to the ice just a few days later. Now, teams are much more conservative when it comes to head injuries.
Andreas Lilja, out for nearly a year with a concussion, has returned for two games so far and tonight will face the team and player that nearly ended his career.
Lilja and the Predators’ She Weber engaged in a spirited fight on February 28, 2009, that injured Lilja’s knee and left him with a bad concussion.
“He knocked me out, I hate to admit it,” Lilja said at the time. “I just remember
the first two punches and the rest of it I saw on TV afterward. I
realized I probably got a concussion.”
Initially, it looked at though Lilja would just might just miss a few games, but persistent headaches sidelined him for the remainder of the season and for most of this one. Tonight, when Lilja plays against Weber and the Predators he’s going to treat it as just another game.
“We both knew what we were doing,” Lilja said of the fight back on
Feb. 28, 2009.
When asked if Weber has spoken to him since the
incident, Lilja said, “No and I wouldn’t expect him to, either. Maybe if
he would have hit me from behind and I would’ve fallen into the boards
and broke my neck, then I would’ve expected him to call me.
was a clean fight and he
just got the best of it. That’s it.”
It’s good to see players move on and let the past go. Sometimes, the hits are more brutal or dirty and ‘revenge’ is warranted (David Booth on Mike Richards) but other times things just happen in a violent sport and you move on. And that’s what Lilja is doing.