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Paul Maurice doesn’t think Eric Staal gave his brother a concussion

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It should be a scholarly affair tonight when the Rangers host the ‘Canes at MSG.

New York coach Dr. John Tortorella (who diagnosed Mike Rupp’s torn meniscus as as “cranky knee'”) will match wits with Carolina coach Dr. Paul Maurice, a leader in the field of neurological research.

Maurice, after all, enlightened reporters today by explaining how Rangers defenseman Marc Staal didn’t suffer his concussion. From Pat Leonard of the New York Daily News:

source:

That’s a rather interesting take. See, Marc has spoken publicly about Eric delivering the hit that concussed him. So to has Eric. “It’s tough for him, it’s tough for me and it’s tough for everybody in the family,” he told NHL.com. “They feel for Marc and they feel for me, being put in that spot.”

The rest of the Staals have weighed in as well. The family patriarch, Henry, said last month that “it wasn’t good” to see Marc get hit. Pittsburgh Penguins center Jordan said last month that “I feel bad for both my brothers.”

Tortorella confirmed Marc suffered a concussion on the play. The only reason the Rangers didn’t disclose it immediately was to protect him, a move which came under some scrutiny after Marc returned to the lineup three games later. (He also played the remainder of the season and playoffs, which could’ve partly fueled Maurice’s comments.)

Heck, even Maurice has spoken about the hit on previous occasions. He told NHL.com he thought it was clean, but the result was bad. The big difference, though, between Maurice’s past statement and his current stance is that he never previously suggested the Staal-on-Staal hit didn’t cause the concussion.

It’s an odd stance to take. Especially when you watch the hit again…

…and wonder just what Maurice is trying to accomplish with these comments. Does he really believe Eric’s hit didn’t give Marc a concussion? Or is he trying to take the pressure off his captain, mired in an absolutely awful slump?

Whatever the case, I’m guessing Maurice will regret saying what he did. Concussions in hockey is already controversial subject — one that certainly doesn’t need coaches weighing in with their (highly unqualified) diagnoses.

Stars end Capitals’ winning streak, pass Blackhawks for West lead

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For two periods, the Dallas Stars seemed to say, “Are you sure the Washington Capitals are the best team in the NHL?”

They chased Braden Holtby and built a 4-0 lead through those first 40 minutes, and that was enough … but barely. The Stars beat the Capitals 4-3 on Saturday, which accomplished the following:

  • Dallas ended Washington’s winning streak at five games. The Stars have now won three straight.
  • This win slides the Stars ahead of the Chicago Blackhawks for first place in the highly competitive Central Division. While both teams sit at 77 standings points, Dallas holds three games in hand.
  • By passing Chicago, the Stars now lead the Western Conference as a whole.

Impressive stuff. Some might even call it a statement game, although others may hold that nail-biting ending against them (possibly arguing that the Stars’ flaws may come back to haunt them in the playoffs).

Dallas’ biggest concern likely has little to do with doubters. Instead, they must monitor the statuses of forwards Tyler Seguin and Cody Eakin.

Long story short, the Stars are red-hot, yet bigger challenges likely lie ahead.

Blackhawks fall to Ducks in OT, lose Hossa to injury

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The Chicago Blackhawks are on edge on Saturday, and it’s not because of what’s currently a close game against the Anaheim Ducks.

(Not that they’re indifferent toward a match against their opponents from last year’s conference final match, mind you.)

Instead, the Blackhawks are quite concerned about the health of Marian Hossa, who needed help off of the ice following an awkward, scary-looking crash into the boards. (Hampus Lindholm delivered the hip check that sent Hossa sprawling, in case you’re wondering.)

You can see that moment in the video above, while My Regular Face’s GIF also captures that troubling moment:

It’s too early to tell if Hossa will bounce back or miss some time from this. Stay tuned for potential updates.

Update: Joel Quenneville seems optimistic about Hossa, broadly speaking:

Ryan Getzlaf scored the overtime game-winner as the Ducks won 3-2 (OT).

Understatement: Saturday was a rough night for Panthers

Nashville Predators center Colin Wilson (33) checks Florida Panthers center Jonathan Huberdeau (11) during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Sunrise, Fla. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)
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If it weren’t for Mike Yeo and the Minnesota Wild, you could argue that the Florida Panthers suffered from the worst night so far.

You can see that Saturday was unpleasant merely from looking at the scoreboard: the Nashville Predators pummeled the Panthers by an unkind score of 5-0.

The pain goes beyond that … literally so.

For one thing, Quinton Howden suffered an upper-body injury and did not return. That’s no good, but if you want to feel sick to your stomach, footage of Brandon Pirri‘s likely lower-body injury (ankle maybe?) may do the trick.

(Seriously, you may be happier if you don’t look.)

The Panthers didn’t make an announcement about Pirri one way or another, so we’ll see if he somehow avoided anything significant.

Either way, it was a night this team would like to forget.

Fractured jaw from fight sidelines Chris Stewart for 4-8 weeks

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It’s unlikely that Chris Stewart will generate another 30-goal season in the NHL, but he still might be missed by the Anaheim Ducks.

The team announced that the ornery forward is expected to miss four-to-eight weeks with a fractured jaw. If that’s the recovery window, Stewart may go into the playoffs a little rusty (if he can get in any regular season games at all).

The Ducks didn’t elaborate, but the Columbus Dispatch’s Aaron Portzline believes that the injury happened during a fight with Dalton Prout of the Columbus Blue Jackets. You can see that brawl in the video above.

One bright side for Anaheim: if they believe that they need to replace what Stewart brings to the table (rugged play with a dash of offense), then at least this injury happened before the the Feb. 29 trade deadline.