Well, the good news is that Bouchard is practicing with the team and will continue to do so. That bad news is that he’s still dealing with specific symptoms – particularly “a certain pressure in his head” – that he faced during the spring. For that reason, a concussion specialist told Bouchard to “hit pause” on his comeback, according to Wild beat reporter Michael Russo.
Now, the team and Bouchard were quick to point out that it wasn’t a specific setback, yet Russo counters logically that the bald truth is that the timetable on his return is “extremely uncertain.”
Pierre-Marc Bouchard’s rehab assignment to Houston will have to wait. Bouchard, who hasn’t play[ed] a hockey game since Opening Night last season due to a concussion and subsequent post-concussion syndrome, had a conversation with Denver-based Dr. James Kelly on Thursday. Bouchard told the concussion specialist what he’s been telling us for months. He still has a certain pressure in his head, sometimes immediately after workouts, sometimes late in the afternoon, sometimes at night.
He’s complained about this symptom since I talked to him on the phone in June, although he said it HAS gotten better. Kelly has “strongly recommended” to Bouchard to “hit pause.” That doesn’t mean he’s been shut down. Bouchard is allowed to continue to work out and practice normally (includes contact) with the Wild, but until he strings some days together without symptoms, he’s not able to take the next step and play some games.
So this is some tough news for the Wild, who can use every point generator they can get. That being said, concussions are not injuries to be trifled with, so you cannot blame Bouchard or his team for being cautious.
It wasn’t pretty – especially if you’re disgusted by that Roman Polak hit – but the Toronto Maple Leafs keep generating big wins as a playoff return looks increasingly likely.
Toronto managed a 5-2 win against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Wednesday, passing the Boston Bruins for third place in the Atlantic Division:
Maple Leafs: 83 points in 72 games
Bruins: 82 points in 73 games
This leaves the currently in-action New York Islanders four points behind the Bruins for the final wild card in the East.
The Maple Leafs aren’t just grabbing key points; they’re doing so against some strong opponents who’ve had plenty on the line, too. They beat a Metro contender in Columbus tonight, the Bruins on Monday, grabbed an OT point against Chicago on Saturday and handled the desperate Lightning last Thursday.
John Tortorella was left enraged after Roman Polak delivered a dangerous boarding hit on Oliver Bjorkstrand, and he probably wasn’t too pleased after the Columbus Blue Jackets failed to make Toronto pay for Polak’s misdeeds.
Polak received a game misconduct and boarding major for the hit, but the Blue Jackets failed to score on a lengthy power play. Tortorella played to script, as cameras caught him expressing his anger at the situation.
Honestly, after 10 games, the question shouldn’t be “can Josh Ho-Sang stick with the Islanders full-time?” Instead, the feeling is … what took so long for him to get this chance?
For all the grumbling about Ho-Sang sporting number 66, he’s provided serious bursts of brilliance and creativity for the Islanders, whether he’s been supporting or even setting upJohn Tavares.
The video above is some really good stuff, as it walks through his confident comments – and undeniable uncertainty – during the night he was drafted, all the way through him getting his chance with the Isles this season. Some of the best stuff comes from Doug Weight, who raves that Ho-Sang is a “five out of five” from an offensive standpoint.
Leafs’ Nylander puts on show with breakaway goal, assist on Matthews’ 33rd
This wouldn’t have been worth a chuckle if not for the correction. (Well, maybe a chuckle at Auston Matthews‘ expense.)
On the 33rd goal of his brilliant rookie season, Auston Matthews made it 2-0 for Toronto on the power play. Crusty “act like you’ve been there” types might grumble that he actually celebrated before a goal really happened, only to tap it in for real the second time around. The rest of us, again, get a mild chuckle.
William Nylander‘s pass was nothing to laugh at, however. That one just gets a big thumbs up.